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Office  of  the  Governor 

Special  Investigators 


June  30,  2011 


HAND  DELIVERED 

Governor  Nathan  Deal 
State  Capitol 
Atlanta,  GA  30335 

Dear  Governor  Deal : 

In  January  of  this  year,  you  continued  our  appointment  as  your  special 
investigators  to  probe  allegations  of  test  tampering  and  related  matters  in  the 
Atlanta  Public  School  System  (APS). 

We  have  determined  that  cheating  occurred  throughout  that  school  district. 
Our  investigation  found  organized  and  systemic  wrongdoing  in  APS  well  before 
the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT. 

Our  investigative  report  follows.  The  entire  file  is  available  to  the 
appropriate  authorities,  as  you  direct.  Please  let  us  know  if  we  may  be  of  further 
service. 

Very  truly  yours, 


MICHAEEJ.  BOWERS         ROBERT  C  WILSON       RICHARD  L.  HYDE 


INVESTIGATIVE  TEAM 


Governor's  Special  Investigators 

Robert  E.  Wilson 
Michael  J.  Bowers 
Richard  L.  Hyde 


Balch  and  Bingham,  LLP 

James  L.  Hollis 
Geremy  W.  Gregory 
E.  Righton  Johnson 

Kara  M.  Engelberger,  Paralegal 
Deborah  Daley,  Legal  Assistant 
Susan  G.  Hughes,  Legal  Assistant 
Barbara  Watson,  Legal  Assistant 

Lydia  Rooks,  Legal  Assistant 
Elizabeth  A.  Jackson,  Project  Asst. 


Wilson,  Morton  and  Downs,  LLC 

Keri  P.  Ware 
Rosyln  S.  Mo  watt 

Linda  Weaver,  Paralegal 
Debbie  Morelli,  Paralegal 
Tracey  Duren,  Legal  Assistant 
Cheryl  Hicks,  Legal  Assistant 


Georgia  Bureau  of  Investigation 


Director  Vernon  M.  Keenan 
Inspector  John  Heinen 
Special  Agent  Heather  Strickland  (Case  Agent) 


Kelly  Aldrich 
Renea  Anderson 
Elizabeth  Bigham 

Rocky  Bigham 

Amy  Braswell 

Leigh  Brooks 
Michael  Brooks 

Tonya  Cales 
Ryan  Carmichael 

Derek  Coffey 
Jerri  Lynn  Coody 

Karen  Crowe 


Dan  Kirk,  Assistant  Director 
Monica  Ling 
Gregory  Linton 

Chad  Lott 
Kendra  Lynn 
ASAC  Jesse  Maddox 

Lindsay  Marchant 
Christopher  McKeown 
Megan  Miller 
Rhiannon  Morgan 
Carlos  Murray 
David  Norman 


i 


Agie  George 

SAC  Denise  Norman 

Lindsey  Giddens 

Richard  Otwell 

Earl  Glover 

Trebor  Randle 

Wendell  Goodman 

Latoria  Reynolds 

Brian  Hargrove 

Janet  N.  Rhodes 

James  Harris 

Evelyn  Rodgers 

Mary  Holder 

Deborah  Rollins 

wesiey  riorne 

Amanaa  Kowien 

jj/iigene  riowara 

iveoecca  onaw 

Terry  Howard 

Jamie  Skelton 

Cecil  Hutchins 

Kristina  Smalley 

uayce  rngaiis 

r  am  omitn 

/\nita  ivy 

jonatnan  opuriocK 

Marko  Jones 

Sara  Thomas 

Deanna  Jury 

Lisa  Vorrasi 

Lawrence  Kelly 

Cynthia  Wahl 

Klay  Kilcrease 

Benny  Williams 

Georgia  Information  Sharing  and  Analysis  Center 

Meredith  Bailey 

Emily  Butler 
Yvonne  Darrell 
Heather  Davis 

Kevin  Garrett 
Yalanda  Greene 

Laurie  Lane 
ASAC  Cynthia  Ledford 
Stephanie  Lockridge 

Jessica  Price 
Mark  Reinking 
Terri  St.  Romain 
Jan  Roulain,  Department  of  Corrections 

Deanna  Scott 
Tammy  Starckey 
Wendi  Walker 
Keesha  Walker 


ii 


Office  of  State  Inspector  General 

Elizabeth  Pequeno  Archer,  Esq. 
Deron  R.  Hicks,  Esq. 
William  L.  Donaldson,  III,  CPA,  CFE 
Deborah  Wallace,  CIG 

District  Attorney,  Atlanta  Judicial  Circuit 

Hon.  Paul  Howard 
Judge  Eleanor  L.  Ross  (Formerly  Executive  Assistant  District  Attorney) 


Solicitor-General,  DeKalb  County 

Hon.  Sherry  Boston 
Investigator  Steve  Barresi 

Georgia  State  Patrol 

Col.  Bill  Hitchens 
Lt.  Col.  Mark  McDonough 
Major  Russell  Powell 
Lt.  Mark  Hambert 
Sgt.  Robert  Moody 
Trooper  Christopher  Hinkle 
Trooper  K.  Reeder 
Trooper  Chris  Stallings 
Trooper  Larry  Miller 


iii 


Report  Limitations 

This  report  is  an  overview  of  the  evidence  and  our  findings.    It  is  not 

intended  to  include  every  detail  or  fact  developed  during  this  investigation.  Nor 
does  it  include  every  relevant  document.  All  notes,  documents,  transcripts  and 
interview  summaries  related  to  this  investigation  will  be  available  to  you,  and  the 
appropriate  authorities  for  whatever  action,  if  any,  is  appropriate. 

Special  Thanks 

The  investigators  wish  to  express  their  gratitude  to  Governors  Perdue  and 
Deal,  and  their  staffs,  for  their  support  of  our  work.  We  also  wish  to  extend  our 
appreciation  to  Ms.  Kathleen  Mathers,  Director  of  the  Governor's  Office  of 
Student  Achievement,  for  her  indispensable  assistance  throughout  this 
investigation. 


iv 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 


Volume  1 

Map  of  Schools  1 

Overview  2 

The  CRCT  6 

Interviews  and  Document  Review  7 

2009  Erasure  Analysis  9 

Standard  Deviations  Chart  10 

APS  Erasure  Analysis  11 

Verification  of  the  Erasure  Analysis  12 

Use  of  the  Erasure  Analysis  in  This  Investigation  15 

School  Summaries  15 

Investigative  Compilation  17 

Parks  Middle  School  20 

Venetian  Hills  Elementary  School  53 

Gideons  Elementary  School  60 

Kennedy  Middle  School  66 

F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School  72 

Perkerson  Elementary  School  77 

Connally  Elementary  School  85 

Usher/Collier  Heights  Elementary  School  91 

Peyton  Forest  Elementary  School  98 

East  Lake  Elementary  School  106 

V 


Cook  Elementary  School  117 

Woodson  Elementary  School  125 

Scott  Elementary  School  134 

Deerwood  Academy  144 

Humphries  Elementary  School  151 

Glossary  158 


vi 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 


Volume  2 

(School  Summaries  continued) 

Dunbar  Elementary  School  161 

D.H.  Stanton  Elementary  School  168 

Finch  Elementary  School  175 

Coan  Middle  School  185 

Dobbs  Elementary  School  191 

Toomer  Elementary  School  204 

Benteen  Elementary  School  207 

Beecher  Hills  Elementary  School  215 

Fain  Elementary  School  219 

Slater  Elementary  School  226 

Thomasville  Heights  Elementary  School  233 

Fickett  Elementary  School  242 

Hutchinson  Elementary  School  247 

Capitol  View  Elementary  School  251 

Towns  Elementary  School  257 

Blalock  Elementary  School  262 

Whitefoord  Elementary  School  266 

Boyd  Elementary  School  269 

West  Manor  Elementary  School  273 

Turner  Middle  School  276 

vii 


White  Elementary  School  280 

Harper  Archer  Middle  School  282 

M.  Agnes  Jones  Elementary  School  296 

Parkside  Elementary  School  303 

Bethune  Elementary  School  305 

Miles  Elementary  School  312 

Grove  Park  Elementary  School  315 

Jackson  Elementary  School  318 

Cleveland  Elementary  School  320 

Alonzo  A.  Crim  Open  Campus  High  School  322 

Benjamin  S.  Carson  Preparatory  Academy  323 

C.W.  Hill  Elementary  School  326 

Adamsville  Elementary  School  327 

Cascade  Elementary  School  328 

Heritage  Academy  Elementary  School  329 

University  Community  Academy  330 

Williams  Elementary  School  335 

Herndon  Elementary  School  336 

Bolton  Academy  Elementary  School  337 

Morningside  Elementary  School  339 

Morris  Brandon  Elementary  School  341 

2009  vs.  2010  342 

APS  Percentage  of  Classes  with  Flagged  WTR's  Chart  345 

Glossary  347 

viii 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 


Volume  3 

Questions  350 

Why  Cheating  Occurred  350 

Targets  350 

Culture  of  Fear  356 

Dr.  Jackie  Boyce  357 

Jimmy e  Hawkins  359 

Michael  Milstead  361 

Former  High-Level  Official  361 

Patrick  Crawford  362 

Santhia  Curtis  363 

Teachers  365 

Ethics  365 

Early  Warnings  366 

Allegations  of  Cover-Up  368 

Parks  Middle  School  368 

Investigation  at  Parks  369 

Meeting  with  Senior  Leadership  371 

Retaliation  by  Waller  374 

Dramatic  Gains  at  Parks  374 

Deerwood  Academy  378 

Alteration  and  Destruction  of  Documents  383 

ix 


Porter  and  Reeves  Reports  385 

Media  Request  for  Porter  Report  389 

APS  Reaction  to  GOSA  390 

Blue  Ribbon  Commission  392 

Test  Security  395 

KPMG  and  APS  Interviews  396 

APS  Response  to  BRC  Report  398 

The  Business  Community  401 

Findings  402 

Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams  406 

Michael  Pitts  406 

Tamara  Cotman  407 

Veleter  Mazyck  408 

Millicent  Few  408 

Dr.  Kathy  Augustine  408 

Dr.  Beverly  Hall  409 

Glossary  411 


X 


■ 


Map  of  Schools 


Legend 

School  Locations 

i  Elementary 
■  Middle 
•  High 
|  SRT  1 

SRT2 
SRT  3 
SRT  4 


Jackson  ■ 

Jackson  Ann 


Brandon  Anns* 


Sinill  i  K  Ann  ex 


.n  f^agine-Wesle? 


Hui-hinsnn  Lleveland  Avenue 


Humphries 
Long  SButfrAllynLy 


Heritage  Academy 


Atlanta  Public  Schools  Facility  Locations 
2009-2010 


1 


OVERVIEW 

Thousands  of  school  children  were  harmed  by  widespread  cheating  in  the 
Atlanta  Public  School  System  (APS).  In  30  schools,  educators  confessed  to 
cheating.  We  found  cheating  on  the  2009  Criterion-Referenced  Competency  Test 
(CRCT)  in  44  of  the  56  schools  (78.6%)  we  examined,  and  uncovered  organized 
and  systemic  misconduct  within  the  district  as  far  back  as  2001.  Superintendent 
Beverly  Hall  and  her  senior  staff  knew,  or  should  have  known,  that  cheating  and 
other  offenses  were  occurring.  Many  of  the  accolades,  and  much  of  the  praise, 
received  by  APS  over  the  last  decade  were  ill-gotten. 

We  identified  178  educators  as  being  involved  in  cheating.  Of  these,  82 
confessed.  Thirty-eight  of  the  178  were  principals,  from  two-thirds  of  the  schools 
we  examined.  The  2009  erasure  analysis  suggests  that  there  were  far  more 
educators  involved  in  cheating,  and  other  improper  conduct,  than  we  were  able  to 
establish  sufficiently  to  identify  by  name  in  this  report. 

A  culture  of  fear  and  a  conspiracy  of  silence  infected  this  school  system,  and 
kept  many  teachers  from  speaking  freely  about  misconduct.  From  the  onset  of  this 
investigation,  we  were  confronted  by  a  pattern  of  interference  by  top  APS 
leadership  in  our  attempt  to  gather  evidence.  These  actions  delayed  the  completion 
of  this  inquiry  and  hindered  the  truth-seeking  process. 


2 


The  APS  General  Counsel  told  us  that  one  of  her  main  duties  was  to  provide 
Superintendent  Hall  with  "deniability."  Her  aim  was  to  insulate  Dr.  Hall  from  the 
burden  of  responsibility  for  making  difficult  decisions.  This  veil  of  deniability  at 
the  school  level  was  aptly  illustrated  by  long-time  Gideons  Elementary  principal 
Armstead  Salters,  who  told  his  teachers:  "If  anyone  asks  you  anything  about  this, 
just  tell  them  you  don't  know  .  .  .  just  stick  to  the  story  and  it  will  go  away." 

There  was  a  failure  of  leadership  throughout  APS  with  regard  to  the  ethical 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  There  are  two  main  reasons  for  this  failure. 
Dr.  Hall's  insular  style  and  her  isolation  from  the  rank-and-file  was  a  major  factor. 
In  addition,  Dr.  Hall  and  her  top  managers  refused  to  accept  responsibility  for 
anything  other  than  success.  As  Dr.  Hall's  Chief  of  Staff,  Sharron  Pitts,  explained 
to  us,  "nobody  ever  wants  to  take  responsibility  for  anything"  in  APS. 

Deputy  Superintendent  Kathy  Augustine  oversaw  daily  classroom 
instruction,  and  operated  as  the  de  facto  second-in-command.  She  told  us  that  she 
should  not  be  held  responsible  for  cheating  that  took  place  in  APS  classrooms 
under  her  authority. 

While  this  may  be  an  appropriate  defense  to  criminal  charges,  it  is  an  absurd 
leadership  concept.  Dr.  Hall  and  her  senior  cabinet  accepted  accolades  when  those 
below  them  performed  well,  but  they  wanted  none  of  the  burdens  of  failure. 


3 


The  first  person  to  report  cheating  to  us  provided  the  same  information 
months  earlier  to  his  superiors,  only  to  have  the  wrongdoers  quickly  exonerated 
while  he  was  reprimanded.  This  educator  made  these  allegations  known  to  the 
proper  officials  inside  of  APS.  However,  the  district  improperly  handled  this 
complaint  in  violation  of  its  own  policies.  That  inquiry  was  brought  to  a  swift,  and 
predictable,  conclusion.  The  guilty  went  free;  the  whistle-blower  was  punished. 
This  was  not  an  isolated  occurrence  and  was  illustrative  of  the  culture  of  fear  and 
intimidation  which  promoted  a  code  of  silence. 

The  Office  of  Internal  Resolution  (OIR)  was  responsible  for  internal 
investigations,  but  lacked  independence  and  gave  those  who  wanted  to  report 
improper  activity  little  confidence  that  complaints  would  be  objectively,  fairly  and 
competently  investigated. 

As  early  as  2006,  APS  officials  improperly  manipulated  and  hid  information 
relating  to  CRCT  administration,  and  illegally  altered  documents  related  to  that 
test.  The  school  district  often  failed  to  comply  with  Georgia's  open  records  laws, 
withheld  public  information  and  gave  false  data  to  an  agency  of  this  state. 

Dr.  Hall  stated  publicly,  and  several  times,  that  she  would  "fully  cooperate" 
with  our  efforts.  However,  the  district  was  slow  in  producing  documents  and 
claimed  legal  exemptions  where  none  existed. 


4 


All  of  this  was  done  to  keep  from  public  view,  and  this  inquiry,  information 
which  might  raise  doubts  about  the  validity  of  the  2009  CRCT  scores,  and  other 
indicators  of  success  in  the  classroom. 

Blue  Ribbon  Commission  (BRC)  expert,  Dr.  John  Fremer,  wrote  an  op-ed 
piece  for  The  Atlanta  Journal  -  Constitution  (AJC)  which  said:  "...[wjholesale 
organized  cheating  in  some  Atlanta  Public  Schools  occurred  and  must  be 
addressed."  (Ex.  1).  Experts  who  assisted  us  expressed  similar  sentiments  in 
saying  that  cheating  is  the  only  plausible  explanation  for  the  abnormally  high 
standard  deviations  shown  in  the  erasure  analysis. 

One  of  the  first  tasks  we  undertook  was  to  test  the  validity  of  the  Governor's 
Office  of  Student  Achievement  (GOSA)  erasure  analysis.  This  was  done  with  the 
assistance  of  our  expert  during  a  visit  to  the  test  facility  of  CTB  McGraw-Hill. 
The  erasure  analysis  is,  without  question,  accurate  and  reliable. 

The  statistics  are  astounding.  For  example,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non- 
APS  elementary  and  middle  schools  in  Georgia  where  the  2009  CRCT  was  given, 
54  schools  were  flagged  with  more  than  20%  of  their  classes  being  greater  than 
three  standard  deviations  outside  the  state  norm  on  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Yet  in 
the  90  elementary  and  middle  schools  in  the  APS  system  where  the  2009  CRCT 
was  given,  52  schools  were  flagged  with  more  than  20%  of  their  classes  being 
greater  than  three  standard  deviations  outside  the  norm.  Incredibly,  almost  half  of 


5 


the  schools  flagged  for  being  greater  than  three  standard  deviations  outside  of  the 
norm  in  our  state  were  from  the  Atlanta  Public  School  System. 

THE  CRCT 

The  CRCT  is  a  multiple  choice  examination  given  annually  to  all  public 
school  students  in  Georgia.  There  are  five  subject  areas  that  are  tested:  reading; 
English/language  arts;  math;  social  studies  and  science.  Students  are  scored  as 
"meets  standards,"  "exceeds  standards"  or  "does  not  meet  standards."  The  CRCT 
is  considered  an  important  test  because  its  results  help  determine  whether  a  school 
makes  "Annual  Yearly  Progress"  (AYP)  as  required  by  the  federal  No  Child  Left 
Behind  Act.  Every  elementary  and  middle  school  within  a  school  district  must 
administer  the  CRCT  at  the  same  time  and  in  the  same  manner,  during  a  nine-day 
window.  During  the  first  five  days,  a  different  subject  area  is  tested  each  day.  The 
last  four  days  of  the  window  are  used  for  make-up  testing. 

Georgia  law  requires  that  the  test  be  administered  under  tightly-controlled 
conditions.  The  test  materials  are  delivered  to  the  individual  schools  several  days 
before  the  test  begins.  Each  school  designates  a  certified  educator  to  be 
responsible  for  test  administration.  In  APS,  this  person  is  known  as  the  testing 
coordinator,  who  must  ensure  that  the  test  is  administered  according  to  the  test 
protocols.  But  the  principal  bears  ultimate  responsibility  for  ensuring  how  the  test 
is  administered. 


6 


Teachers  receive  training  on  test  administration  using  procedures  that 
specifically  set  forth  how  the  test  must  be  given.  Any  deviation  from  the  test 
protocols  is  prohibited. 

hi  first  and  second  grade,  teachers  read  the  test  questions  aloud  and  students 
answer  questions  in  the  test  booklet  by  marking  the  correct  answer.  (Ex.  2). 
Teachers  must  read  each  question  only  twice,  with  no  voice  inflection  that  could 
suggest  the  answer.  Third  through  eighth  graders  read  the  test  questions  for 
themselves  and  answer  questions  on  a  separate  Scantron®  sheet  by  filling  in  the 
appropriate  bubble  by  pencil.  (Ex.  3).  Each  test  section  is  timed  and  contains 
between  forty  and  sixty  questions.  Only  special  education  students  with  specified 
accommodations  may  have  variances  in  the  test  administration. 

INTERVIEWS  AND  DOCUMENT  REVIEW 

On  August  26,  2010,  Governor  Sonny  Perdue  appointed  us  as  his  Special 

Investigators  to  investigate  alleged  test  tampering,  and  related  matters,  in  the 
Atlanta  Public  School  System.  (Ex.  4).  This  order  was  augmented  by  oral 
directives  that  we  were  to: 

•  Find  the  truth  with  regard  to  cheating,  if  any,  on  the  2009 
CRCT  within  APS; 

•  Assist  state  regulators  in  sanctioning  educators  who  participated 
in  cheating; 

•  Submit   information   to   prosecuting    authorities  regarding 
criminal  conduct,  if  discovered. 


7 


Governor  Perdue  emphasized  that  our  mandate  was  to  find  the  truth.  He 
also  stressed  that  teachers  who  were  honest  in  their  testimony  should  not  be 
criminally  prosecuted.  You  restated  these  directives  to  us  upon  assuming  office. 
(Ex.  5). 

hi  order  to  gain  an  understanding  of  the  overall  structure  of  APS,  how  the 
testing  process  works,  the  relevant  players,  and  what  documents  would  be  needed, 
we  first  conducted  benchmark  interviews  of  top  officials  in  the  district,  including 
Dr.  Hall,  Dr.  Augustine,  Dr.  Cari  Ryan,  and  Dr.  Alexis  Kirijan.  Most  of  these 
officials  were  interviewed  again  toward  the  end  of  this  investigation. 

We  interviewed  the  teachers  and  administrators  at  each  of  the  flagged 
schools,  as  well  as  current  and  former  executive  directors  of  each  school  reform 
team  (SRT).  The  SRT  executive  directors  function  as  assistant  superintendents, 
assigned  to  one  of  four  geographic  areas  of  elementary  and  middle  schools  for  the 
district.  They  oversee  principals  at  the  schools  within  their  SRT  and  report  directly 
to  Dr.  Kathy  Augustine. 

hi  addition  to  interviews  of  district  personnel,  we  also  spoke  with  scores  of 
individuals  from  outside  the  system,  who  participated  in  the  BRC  investigation  or 
served  as  consultants.  We  conducted  over  2,1 00  interviews  and  reviewed  in  excess 
of  800,000  documents. 


8 


2009  ERASURE  ANALYSIS 

In  February  2010,  the  Governor's  Office  of  Student  Achievement  (GOSA) 

produced  an  erasure  analysis  performed  by  CTB  McGraw-Hill  on  the  spring  2009 
CRCT.  The  results  of  this  analysis  raised  the  possibility  of  testing  irregularities. 
The  GOSA  erasure  analysis,  which  was  performed  on  the  test  answer  documents 
for  every  elementary  and  middle  school  student  in  the  State  of  Georgia,  compared 
the  number  of  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasures  by  grade,  test  subject  and  class  to 
the  average  number  of  WTR  erasures  state-wide  for  the  corresponding  grade  and 
test  subject.  The  results  of  the  erasure  analysis  showed  that  in  35  Georgia  school 
districts,  including  APS,  a  significant  number  of  classes  had  WTR  erasures  that 
were  dramatically  and  disconcertingly  higher  than  the  state  average. 

Specifically,  CTB  McGraw-Hill  determined  that  if  a  class  had  WTR  erasures 
more  than  three  standard  deviations  above  the  expected  norm  (i.e.,  the  state 
average),  it  was  almost  statistically  impossible  for  such  a  high  number  of  WTR 
erasures  to  have  occurred  without  some  external  force  operating  to  cause  it.  For 
example,  at  three  standard  deviations  there  is  only  a  one  in  370  chance  that  the 
high  erasures  occurred  by  coincidence  and  at  five  standard  deviations  there  is  only 
a  one  in  1.7  million  chance.  By  seven  standard  deviations,  it  is  virtually 
impossible — only  a  one  in  390  billion  chance — that  such  a  high  number  of  WTR 
erasures  occurred  randomly. 


9 


STANDARD  DEVIATIONS  CHART 


Standard  Deviations 

Chance  of  Occurring 
Randomly 

3 

1/370 

4 

1  / 15,788 

5 

1  /  1,774,278 

6 

1  /  560,800,000 

7 

1 7390,600,000,000 

In  other  words,  some  external  force  operated  to  cause  the  WTR  erasures. 
Although  a  WTR  erasure  analysis  does  not  indicate  that  the  external  force  was 
cheating,  it  does  suggest  that  something  other  than  normal  student  erasing 
occurred. 

Thirty-five  Georgia  districts  had  schools  with  more  than  five  percent  of  the 
classes  flagged  for  standard  deviations  higher  than  three.  (Ex.  6).  The  GOSA 
study  grouped  schools  into  four  categories  based  on  the  percentage  of  flagged 
classrooms:  "clear  of  concern";  "minimal  concern";  "moderate  concern";  and 
"severe  concern."  Eighty-percent  of  Georgia's  elementary  and  middle  schools  fell 
into  the  "clear  of  concern"  category,  10%  fell  into  "minimal  concern,"  6%  fell  into 
"moderate  concern,"  and  4%  fell  into  the  "severe  concern"  category. 


10 


APS  ERASURE  ANALYSIS 

The  percentage  of  flagged  classes  in  APS  far  exceeded  any  other  district  in 

Georgia.  Of  the  middle  and  elementary  schools  51%  fell  into  the  "severe  concern" 
category.  Of  the  "moderate  concern,"  were  18%,  and  8%  were  of  "minimal 
concern."  (Ex.  7).  APS  accounts  for  over  half  of  the  "severe"  category  schools  in 
the  state.  Parks  Middle  School,  with  89.5%  of  its  classes  flagged,  led  the  state  in 
percentage  of  classes  flagged  for  WTR  erasures,  with  Gideons  Elementary  and 
Peyton  Forest  Elementary  not  far  behind  at  88.4%  and  86.1%,  respectively. 

The  erasure  analysis  only  flagged  classes  that  departed  from  the  norm  by 
three  or  more  standard  deviations.  But  many  classes  in  APS  had  standard 
deviations  ranging  from  the  20's  to  the  50's.  (Ex.  8).  One  classroom  was  at  53.  It 
is  virtually  impossible  for  so  many  WTR  erasures  to  occur  without  human 
intervention. 

Amazingly,  many  APS  teachers  had  high  WTR  erasures  in  all  three  subject 
areas — English/language  arts,  reading  and  math.  Not  only  did  numerous  teachers 
do  something  that  was  virtually  impossible  one  time,  but  did  it  three  times  in  a 
row.  Even  more  amazing,  several  teachers  in  the  same  school  did  this  multiple 
times. 

Dr.  Gregory  Cizek,  our  expert,  analogized  the  chances  of  this  occurring  to 
the  Georgia  Dome  being  filled  to  capacity,  with  every  person  in  the  Dome  being 


11 


seven  feet  tall.  Dr.  John  Fremer  of  Caveon  Test  Security,  hired  by  the  BRC  to 
conduct  its  own  statistical  analysis,  described  this  in  terms  of  flipping  two  coins 
three  times  in  a  row,  and  the  coins  land  on  their  edge,  perfectly  balanced,  one  on 
top  of  the  other,  all  three  times. 

VERIFICATION  OF  THE  ERASURE  ANALYSIS 

We  verified  that  the  results  of  the  erasure  analysis  were  accurate  and 

consistent.  This  study  served  as  a  guide  to  identify  where  cheating  may  have 
occurred,  and  it  established  the  foundation  for  this  investigation.  We  took  the 
following  steps  to  ensure  its  validity: 

•  Retained  an  expert  to  review  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis; 

•  Inspected  the  CTB  McGraw-Hill  facility  and  interviewed 
several  members  of  the  staff  who  were  involved  in  grading  the 
CRCT  and  conducting  the  erasure  analysis; 

•  Observed  the  answer  document  scanning  process; 

•  Compared  the  results  of  the  erasure  analysis  to  the  results  of  a 
reanalysis  of  selected  and  random  test  documents; 

•  Manually  reviewed  thousands  of  answer  sheets  and  compared 
them  to  the  results  of  the  original  erasure  analysis;  and, 

•  Interviewed  experts  in  the  educational  testing  and  statistics 
field. 

Based  on  these  efforts,  we  concluded  that  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis  is 
accurate,  reproducible,  and  reliable. 


12 


We  retained  Gregory  J.  Cizek,  Ph.D.,  of  the  University  of  North  Carolina, 
who  is  one  of  the  foremost  experts  on  educational  testing  and  statistics  in  the 
nation.  Dr.  Cizek  is  a  Professor  of  Educational  Measurement  and  Evaluation  in  the 
School  of  Education  at  UNC.  He  currently  serves  as  the  President  of  the  National 
Council  on  Measurement  in  Education.  (Ex.  9).  After  Cizek  reviewed  the  erasure 
analysis,  he  accompanied  us  to  the  CTB  McGraw-Hill  facility.  We  toured  the  CTB 
McGraw-Hill  plant,  observed  the  answer  documents  being  re-scanned  and 
interviewed  CTB  McGraw-Hill's  statistician  and  other  personnel  familiar  with  the 
scanning  process. 

CTB  McGraw-Hill's  high-optical  scanner  read  the  students'  test  documents 
and  recorded  answers  and  erasures  for  each  section.  A  computer  used  special 
software  to  determine  when  an  answer  was  changed  from  wrong-to-right  (WTR), 
right-to-wrong  (RTW),  or  wrong-to-wrong  (WTW).  This  data  reflected  the  total 
number  of  erasures  and  the  total  number  of  WTR  changes  for  each  student  in  each 
subject  area  in  Georgia. 

Next,  CTB  McGraw-Hill  employed  a  statistical  test  to  flag  excessive 
numbers  of  WTR  erasures  in  a  class.  (Ex.  10).  The  average  number  of  WTR 
erasures  statewide  in  a  given  grade  and  subject  were  compared  to  the  number  of 
WTR  erasures  in  a  specific  class  within  the  APS  district.  The  proximity  of 
erasures  to  the  expected  norm  is  expressed  in  terms  of  standard  deviations.  CTB 


13 


McGraw-Hill  flagged  classes  that  were  three  or  more  standard  deviations  above  the 
state  average. 

GOSA  used  a  conservative  criterion  of  three  standard  deviations.  This  was 
done  to  insure  that  only  the  most  severe  and  questionable  erasures  were  identified. 

We  interviewed  company  officials  and  manually  reviewed  answer 
documents,  counted  erasures,  and  compared  our  count  with  the  computer's 
analysis.  This  manual  count  of  erasures  revealed  more  changes  than  the  computer 
scanning  process.  The  computer  is  not  as  stringent  as  the  human  eye.  The 
difference  is  not  because  the  scanner  missed  erasures,  but  because  it  is  calibrated  to 
give  the  benefit  of  the  doubt  to  a  certain  level  before  it  considers  a  lighter  mark. 

To  confirm  the  study  results,  we  asked  that  CTB  McGraw-Hill  re-scan  both 
random  and  selected  tests.  The  results  of  the  re-scanned  answer  documents  were 
consistent  with  the  results  of  the  original  erasure  analysis. 

We  interviewed  the  two  individuals  from  Caveon  Test  Security  who  used 
the  GOSA  erasure  data  and  conducted  their  own  analysis  on  behalf  of  the  BRC. 
Neither  disputed  the  results  of  the  GOSA  study.  The  top  12  schools  flagged  under 
their  "Caveon  Index"  were  identical  to  the  highest  flagged  schools  under  the 
GOSA  analysis. 


14 


USE  OF  THE  ERASURE  ANALYSIS  IN  THIS  INVESTIGATION 

The  erasure  data  helped  us  prioritize  interviews  of  educators  at  the  schools 

to  allow  us  to  efficiently  focus  our  efforts.  We  also  used  this  information  when  we 
questioned  teachers  and  administrators,  since  they  had  not  been  provided  with  this 
data  by  anyone  in  the  district. 

We  compared  the  student  scores  with  other  evidence  to  better  understand 
what  occurred  in  classrooms.  The  student  data  listed  every  student  in  APS  and  set 
forth  how  many  total  erasures,  versus  how  many  WTR  erasures,  appeared  on  that 
student's  answer  document.  This  information  provided  an  additional  perspective 
for  analyzing  erasures. 

When  student-level  data  revealed  a  large  number  of  students  within  a  single 
class  with  high  erasures  that  changed  from  wrong  to  right  70%- 100%  of  the  time, 
such  information  raised  an  additional  suspicion  that  someone  other  than  the 
students  could  be  changing  answers. 

SCHOOL  SUMMARIES 

Investigative  summaries  of  the  56  schools  we  examined  follow  this  section. 

We  found  that  178  teachers  and  principals  were  involved  in  cheating  in  44  schools. 
Sixty-eight  percent  of  the  principals  of  the  56  schools  were  responsible  for 
cheating,  and  six  of  those  refused  to  answer  all  questions  we  asked  them,  including 
about  their  involvement  in  cheating.  These  six  pled  the  Fifth  Amendment,  which 


15 


for  civil  law  purposes,  such  as  a  Georgia  Professional  Standards  Commission 
(PSC)  proceeding,  is  an  implied  admission. 

An  investigative  compilation  shows  a  breakdown  of  those  found  cheating  by 
each  school. 


16 


INVESTIGATIVE  COMPILATION 

School 

Confessions 

Other 

Total 

Parks  Middle 

7 

6  (hicl.  Prin.). 

13 

Venetian  Hills  Elementary 

6 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

8 

Gideons  Elementary 

12  (Incl.  Prin.). 

0 

12 

Kennedy  Middle 

1 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

4 

FL  Stanton  Elementary 
 —  d  

1 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

3 

Perkerson  Elementary 

0 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

3 

Connally  Elementary 

1 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

2 

Usher  Elementary 

3 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

5 

Peyton  Forest  Elementary 

0 

10  (Incl.  Prin.). 

10 

East  Lake  Elementary 
 _  d  

0 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

2 

Cook  Elementary 

2 

4  (Incl.  Prin.). 

6 

Woodson  Elementary 

2 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

5 

Scott  Elementary 

0 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

3 

Deerwood  Academy 

1 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

4 

Humphries  Elementary 

2 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

5 

Dunbar  Elementary 

1 

7  (Incl.  Prin.). 

8 

DH  Stanton  Elementary 

0 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

2 

Finch  Elementary 

3 

6  (hicl.  Prin.). 

9 

Coan  Middle 

1 

2  (hicl.  Prin.). 

3 

Dobbs  Elementary 

4 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

6 

Toomer  Elementary 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

1 

4 

Benteen  Elementary 

0 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

3 

Beecher  Hills  Elementary 

3 

1  (hicl.  Prin.). 

4 

Fain  Elementary 

2 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

4 

Slater  Elementary 

2 

3  (Incl.  Prin.). 

5 

Thomasville  Heights  Elementary 

2 

2  (hicl.  Prin.). 

4 

Fickett  Elementary 

2 

2  (Incl.  Prin.). 

4 

Hutchinson  Elementary 

1 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

2 

Capitol  View  Elementary 

0 

1  (hicl.  Prin.). 

I 

Towns  Elementary 

0 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

I 

Blalock  Elementary 

0 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

I 

Whitefoord  Elementary 

0 

1  (hicl.  Prin.). 

I 

Boyd  Elementary 

0 

1  (hicl.  Prin.). 

i 

West  Manor  Elementary 

0 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

i 

Turner  Middle 

0 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

I 

White  Elementary 

0 

1  (hicl.  Prin.). 

i 

Harper  Archer  Middle 

0 

0 

0 

MA  Jones  Elementary 

6 

1 

7 

Parkside  Elementary 

3 

0 

3 

Bethune  Elementary 

2 

1  (Incl.  Prin.). 

3 

Miles  Elementary 

2 

1 

3 

Grove  Park  Elementary 

2 

0 

2 

Jackson  Elementary 

2 

0 

2 

Cleveland  Elementary 

1 

0 

1 

Crim  Open  Campus 

0 

0 

0 

Benjamin  Carson  Middle 

0 

0 

0 

CW  Hill  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Adamsville  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Cascade  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Heritage  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

University  Community  Academy 

2 

4  (Incl.  Prin.). 

6 

Williams  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Herndon  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Bolton  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Morningside  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

Morris  Brandon  Elementary 

0 

0 

0 

TOTAL 

82 

96 

178 

17 


For  each  school  we  have  prepared  analyses  of  relevant  witness  interviews, 
statistical  data  and  other  materials.  Listed  below  is  some  of  the  misconduct  found 
in  the  school  summaries.  What  is  revealed  is  outrageous: 

•  Teachers  and  administrators  erased  students'  incorrect  answers 
after  the  test  was  given  and  filled  in  the  correct  answers; 

•  The  changing  of  answers  by  teachers  and  administrators  was,  in 
some  cases,  so  sophisticated  that  plastic  transparency  answer 
sheets  were  created  to  make  changing  the  test  answer  sheets 
easier; 

•  Changing  of  answers  was  often  done  at  weekend  gatherings, 
and  in  at  least  one  instance  at  a  teacher's  home  in  Douglas 
County,  Georgia; 

•  A  principal  forced  a  teacher  with  low  CRCT  scores  to  crawl 
under  a  table  at  a  faculty  meeting; 

•  Teachers  arranged  classroom  seating  for  tests  so  that  lower 
performing  children  could  cheat  off  the  higher  scoring  students; 

•  Children  were  denied  special  educational  assistance  because 
their  falsely-reported  CRCT  scores  were  too  high; 

•  Students  requested  that  they  be  assigned  to  a  certain  teacher 
because  that  educator  was  said  to  cheat; 

•  First  and  second  grade  teachers  used  voice  inflection  while 
reading  the  test  to  identify  the  answer; 

•  Teachers  pointed  to  the  correct  answer  while  standing  at 
students'  desks; 

•  Teachers  gave  the  answers  aloud  to  students; 

•  Some  teachers  allowed  students  to  change  the  previous  day's 
incorrect  responses  after  giving  them  correct  answers; 

•  Teachers  looked  ahead  to  discuss  the  next  day's  questions; 


18 


•       In  one  classroom  a  student  sat  under  his  desk  and  refused  to 
take  the  test.  This  child  passed. 

Following  the  school  summaries  is  a  comparison  between  the  2009  and  2010 
erasure  analyses.  There  was  a  dramatic  drop  in  the  percentage  of  flagged 
classrooms  between  these  years.  This  was  only  after  media  attention  and  the  state 
sent  representatives  to  some  district  schools. 


19 


PARKS  MIDDLE  SCHOOL 


1090  Windsor  Street  SW  Principal:  Christopher  Waller  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30310  Testing  Coordinator:  Dr.  Alfred  Kiel 

I        INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Parks  Middle  School  in  2006,  2007,  2008,  2009,  and 
2010.  Fifty-nine  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Seven  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at  Parks  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms, 
confessions  and  witness  testimony.  The  cheating  started  when  Principal  Christopher  Waller 
began  at  Parks  and  recruited  two  teachers  to  change  answers  in  2006.  As  the  years  progressed, 
more  teachers  got  involved.  In  all  years,  the  cheating  was  organized  and  facilitated  by  Principal 
Waller  and  Success-For-All  Facilitator  Sandra  Ward.  Assistant  Principal  Gregory  Reid  also 
participated.  The  cheating  was  reflected  in  the  statistically  improbable  testing  gains  and 
extremely  high  numbers  of  flagged  classrooms  in  2009  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Parks 
had  the  highest  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  in  the  State  of  Georgia.  Teachers  gave  students 
the  answers  to  the  tests,  organized  changing  "parties"  where  the  answer  sheets  were  changed, 
and  illegally  accessed  the  test  booklets  before  testing.  The  cheating  was  conducted  covertly  so 
that  Testing  Coordinator  Dr.  Alfred  Kiel  would  not  discover  it. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

89.5 

4 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

51 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

19(18) 

3(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

11.9 

3.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

29.4 

3.4 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.4 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Christopher  Waller  became  the  principal  of  Parks  in  the  fall  of  2005.  Waller  directed 
cheating  the  first  year  he  presided  over  CRCT  testing  in  2006.  He  gave  teacher  Damany  Lewis  a 
key  to  the  room  where  the  tests  were  kept.  Lewis  removed  the  plastic  wrap  from  the  test 
booklets  and  photocopied  the  tests.  Lewis  gave  the  copies  to  other  teachers,  who  used  the 
advance  copies  to  give  students  the  answers.  A  select  group  of  teachers  that  Waller  organized 
and  trusted  would  change  wrong  answers  to  right  answers  each  day  during  the  week  of  testing. 
There  is  also  evidence  that  Waller  directed  cheating  on  the  secured  writing  tests. 

Each  year  Principal  Waller  and  his  crew  brought  more  teachers  into  the  cheating 
conspiracy.  Waller,  Gregory  Reid,  or  Sandra  Ward  went  to  these  teachers'  classrooms  and  told 


20 


them  it  was  "time  to  go."  The  teachers  understood  that  "time  to  go"  meant  they  were  to  go  to  the 
room  where  the  tests  were  kept  and  change  answers. 

Dr.  Alfred  Kiel  was  the  testing  coordinator  for  this  school.  He  would  not  allow  cheating 
so  Principal  Waller  orchestrated  Kiel's  absence  from  the  school  building  so  the  cheating  could 
take  place.  On  one  occasion  in  2009,  Principal  Waller  took  Kiel  out  for  a  "retirement  lunch."  In 
another  year,  Principal  Waller  scheduled  an  impromptu  after-school  dance  so  that  the  teachers 
could  stay  late  in  the  afternoon  and  cheat  without  raising  suspicion.  Kiel  once  noticed  that  things 
in  his  office  had  been  disturbed  while  he  was  out  and  became  angry.  After  that  occasion,  teacher 
Damany  Lewis  took  pictures  of  Kiel's  office  before  he  altered  the  tests  so  that  everything  would 
be  put  back  in  exactly  the  same  place  so  as  not  to  raise  Kiel's  suspicions.  No  one  implicated 
Kiel  except  Principal  Waller. 

B.  APS'  Knowledge  of  Cheating 

District  Leadership  knew  Principal  Waller  was  cheating.  See  discussion  of  Reginal 
Dukes '  investigation  into  Parks  Middle  School  in  Volume  Three  of  this  Report.  Dr.  Beverly  Hall, 
Dr.  Kathy  Augustine,  Millicent  Few,  and  others  were  aware  of  Dukes'  investigation  and 
findings.  No  action  was  taken  against  Principal  Waller. 

Dr.  Hall  also  should  have  known  Waller  was  cheating  at  Parks  because  once  he  became 
principal,  the  school  immediately  made  dramatic  gains  on  the  CRCT  and  other  tests.  For 
example,  between  the  2004-2005  and  2005-2006  school  years,  eighth  graders  meeting  or 
exceeding  standards  in  reading  increased  by  31  percentage  points,  from  50%  to  81%.  The 
percentage  of  students  meeting  and  exceeding  standards  in  English/language  arts  increased  by  27 
percentage  points,  from  54%  to  81%.  In  math,  the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  who  met  or 
exceeded  the  standards  increased  from  24%  to  86%.  The  percentage  of  students  exceeding 
expectations  went  from  1%  to  46%,  a  45  point  increase.  In  2006-2007,  one  year  after  Dukes' 
investigation  into  Parks,  the  school  met  100%  of  targets  set  by  APS. 

There  is  no  evidence  that  APS  management  instituted  any  additional  investigations  into 
Parks  despite  the  improbable  gains  in  scores  and  Dukes'  conclusion  that  cheating  occurred  on  the 
eighth  grade  writing  test  in  2006.  Instead,  APS  publicly  touted  Waller  and  Parks  Middle  School 
for  its  achievements.  Dr.  Beverly  Hall  praised  Principal  Waller's  performance,  saying,  "You 
have  to  find  someone  who  is  able  to  go  in  and,  while  not  being  a  dictator,  gets  people's  attention 
and  articulates  a  vision  and  mission  in  a  way  that  people  want  to  be  on  board  with  it  .  .  .  ."  A 
copy  of  Sarah  Torian's  Beating  the  Odds  at  Atlanta's  Parks  Middle  School  is  included  as 
Attachment  A. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Damany  Lewis  (Teacher) 

Damany  Lewis  was  the  first  teacher  to  assist  Principal  Waller  in  cheating.  He  admitted  to 
cheating  in  2006,  2007,  2008  and  2009.  In  2006,  Waller  asked  Lewis,  "Do  you  think  you  could 
get  into  something  undetected?"  Lewis  was  not  sure  what  Waller  meant,  but  said  yes.  A  few 
days  later,  Lewis  was  summoned  to  the  main  office  where  he  found  Principal  Waller  and  Sandra 
Ward  with  the  CRCT  booklets.  Principal  Waller  looked  at  Lewis  and  then  immediately  looked 


21 


at  the  test  booklets.  Lewis  then  knew  what  Principal  Waller  was  asking  him  to  "get  into 
undetected" — the  test  booklets.  Lewis  found  a  key  in  his  desk  drawer  that  opened  the  room 
where  the  tests  were  kept.  Lewis  used  a  razor  blade  to  open  the  plastic  wrapping  around  the  test 
booklets,  copied  the  test  for  each  grade,  and  resealed  the  wrapping  using  a  lighter  to  melt  the 
plastic.  Once  Lewis  copied  the  booklets,  he  placed  a  copy  of  the  social  studies  test  in  Damien 
Northern's  car  and  a  copy  of  the  reading  and  language  arts  test  in  Dorothea  Wilson's  car. 

After  the  students  had  taken  the  test,  Lewis  changed  answers.  On  one  occasion,  Crystal 
Draper  came  to  the  room  where  Lewis  was  erasing.  Lewis  assumed  Waller  sent  her.  In  2006, 
Lewis  and  Draper  worked  together  to  change  answers.  Each  year  more  teachers  would  assist  in 
the  cheating.  In  2007  or  2008,  Lewis,  Draper,  and  Damien  Northern  changed  answers.  Teachers 
Adrienne  Powell,  Kimberly  Oden,  and  Latasha  Smiley  may  have  also  assisted  that  year.  In 
2009,  the  group  of  cheating  teachers  grew  again.  The  following  teachers  were  present  in  the 
room  where  the  tests  were  being  erased:  Crystal  Draper,  Damien  Northern,  Starlette  Mitchell, 
Dorothea  Wilson,  Adrienne  Powell  and  Kimberly  Oden.  Principal  Waller  always  knew  when 
and  where  Lewis  and  the  others  were  altering  tests. 

Lewis  spent  one  to  two  hours  per  day  altering  tests.  At  Waller's  direction,  Lewis  cheated 
every  year  that  Waller  was  Principal.  Waller  gave  Lewis  access  to  the  test  booklets  before 
testing  started  and  Lewis  made  copies  of  the  tests,  handed  them  out  and  changed  answers. 
During  testing  week,  Principal  Waller,  Ward,  or  Reid  would  tell  Lewis  to  go  to  the  main  office. 
Principal  Waller  would  tell  Lewis,  "Do  what  you  do."  Lewis  would  get  the  tests  and  erase 
answers. 

The  teachers  only  changed  answers  when  Testing  Coordinator  Kiel  was  out  of  the  school. 
In  2007,  Kiel  noticed  things  in  his  office  were  in  a  different  place  than  where  he  had  left  them. 
After  that,  Lewis  started  taking  the  tests  from  Kiel's  office  into  the  room  next  door  to  change 
answers.  Lewis  either  marked  where  the  tests  had  been  or  took  pictures  of  the  undisturbed 
office,  so  he  could  put  everything  back  without  Kiel  noticing. 

2.        Crystal  Draper  (Teacher) 

Crystal  Draper  admitted  cheating  in  2006,  2007,  2008,  and  2009.  Draper  first  changed 
tests  in  2006  and  continued  through  2009.  Gregory  Reid  usually  told  her  where  to  go  and  alter 
the  answer  sheets.  There  was  one  year  when  Principal  Waller  said,  "The  bins  [containing  the 
tests]  are  in  such-and-such  room." 

In  2009,  Reid  sent  Draper  to  Kiel's  office.  Draper  erased  answers  in  the  office  with 
Damany  Lewis,  Damien  Northern  and  Dorothea  Wilson.  While  Draper  was  erasing  answers, 
Sandra  Ward  and  Starlette  Mitchell  came  into  the  room  with  a  blue  cooler,  put  sixth  grade  tests 
in  the  container,  and  left  the  room  with  the  cooler  and  tests.  That  same  day,  Kimberly  Simpson, 
who  had  not  participated  in  previous  years,  knocked  on  the  door  to  Kiel's  office.  Because 
Simpson  had  not  helped  cheat  before,  the  teachers  were  not  comfortable  with  Simpson  seeing 
them  change  answers,  so  they  did  not  answer  the  door. 

Principal  Waller  directed  Draper  to  cheat.  Tn  2006,  Principal  Waller  told  her  to  go  to  the 
room  where  the  tests  were  kept  and  change  wrong  answers  to  right  answers.  Principal  Waller 


22 


would  often  walk  by  Draper  and  make  comments  such  as,  "I  need  those  numbers."  She  said  that 
teachers  were  afraid  of  Principal  Waller  because  he  would  punish  people  if  they  did  not  do  what 
he  asked. 

3.  Damien  Northern  (Teacher) 

Damien  Northern  confessed  to  cheating  in  2008  and  2009  and  possibly  in  2007  as  well. 
Members  of  the  Parks  Middle  School  faculty  cheated  the  entire  time  Waller  was  principal. 
Waller  recruited  Damany  Lewis  and  Crystal  Draper  and  directed  them  to  get  others  involved.  In 
2007  or  2008,  Waller  told  Lewis  to  recruit  Northern  because  Lewis  needed  help.  The  teachers 
already  cheating  included:  Damany  Lewis,  Crystal  Draper,  Starlette  Mitchell,  and  Dorothea 
Wilson. 

In  2009,  Sandra  Ward  sent  Northern  to  Kiel's  office  where  the  tests  were  kept.  When  he 
arrived,  he  felt  there  were  too  many  people  in  the  room.  He  recalls  that  Starlette  Mitchell, 
Charles  Mitchell,  Wilson,  Draper,  Adrienne  Powell,  and  Latasha  Smiley  were  there.  Northern 
did  not  change  answers  that  year  because  he  did  not  trust  everyone  present. 

One  year  Principal  Waller  was  standing  directly  outside  the  door  of  the  room  while  they 
were  changing  answers. 

On  another  occasion,  Northern  found  a  copy  of  the  test  questions  in  his  box.  He  does  not 
know  who  put  them  there. 

Northern  believes  cheating  goes  on  all  over  the  district.  He  has  had  students  that  cannot 
read  yet  scored  very  high  on  the  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT. 

Ward  asked  Lewis,  Northern,  Wilson,  and  Mitchell  for  copies  of  the  Governor's 
subpoenas  they  received  with  regard  to  this  investigation.  Ward  told  them  that  she  would 
provide  them  with  an  attorney. 

4.  Latasha  Smiley  (Teacher) 

Latasha  Smiley  admits  to  cheating  in  2009.  Francesca  Thompson-Flagle,  a  PEC  teacher, 
gave  Smiley  a  copy  of  the  2009  CRCT.  The  copy  was  difficult  to  read.  Later  that  day,  Gregory 
Reid  told  Smiley  that  Damany  Lewis  had  a  "gift"  for  her.  Smiley  found  a  manila  envelope 
containing  a  legible  copy  of  the  tests  on  her  desk.  During  the  test,  Smiley  improperly  gave 
students  the  correct  answers. 

One  afternoon,  Lewis  told  Smiley  to  come  with  him.  They  went  to  Kiel's  office  and 
Smiley  erased  answers  with  the  other  teachers  in  the  room.  After  the  testing  period  was 
complete,  Lewis  came  to  Smiley' s  classroom  and  told  her  to  come  with  him.  They  went  together 
to  Kiel's  office  where  Lewis  took  pictures  of  the  room  so  that  he  could  place  everything  back  in 
its  original  place  after  they  changed  the  tests.  Smiley  erased  answers  with  the  other  teachers  in 
the  room. 

Principal  Waller  told  Smiley  to  let  him  know  if  anyone  contacted  her  regarding  this 
investigation. 


23 


5.        Charles  Mitchell  (Teacher) 


Charles  Mitchell  confessed  to  cheating  in  2009.  In  2008,  he  started  receiving  copies  of 
various  tests,  including  the  CRCT  and  APS  benchmark  assessments,  in  advance  of  their 
administration.  He  reviewed  the  tests  and  made  sure  he  covered  all  of  the  material  with  his 
students. 

In  2009,  Mitchell  was  told  to  report  to  Kiel's  office.  When  Mitchell  arrived  he  saw 
teachers  were  changing  answers.  While  the  teachers  changed  tests,  Waller  and  Reid  kept  Dr. 
Kiel  occupied.  Mitchell  changed  answers  three  times  that  year.  One  of  those  times  Waller  was 
in  the  room.  Principal  Waller  told  the  teachers  that  they  were  there  to  make  sure  the  students 
passed  the  test  and  that  they  only  had  limited  time  to  get  the  tests  "corrected."  Waller  was 
holding  a  basket  of  the  tests.  He  reached  in  and  touched  the  tests  and  Ward  said  to  Waller, 
"Don't  touch  those." 

Principal  Waller  gave  Crystal  Draper  $1,000  in  cash  because  her  homeroom  had  the 
highest  percentage  of  students  pass  the  CRCT.  He  gave  her  the  money  on  the  way  to  the  annual 
Convocation,  in  front  of  all  the  other  teachers. 

SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts  came  to  Parks  Middle  School  after  this 
investigation  began  and  told  teachers  that  he  believed  this  inquiry  was  racially  and  politically 
motivated. 

6.  Storiette  Mitchell  (Teacher) 

Starlette  Mitchell  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT,  but  denied  changing 
answers  prior  to  that  year. 

7.  Dorothea  Wilson  (Teacher) 

Dorothea  Wilson  confessed  to  cheating  in  2008  and  2009.  Wilson  does  not  remember 
what  year  she  began  changing  answers  but  knows  she  cheated  in  at  least  2008  and  2009.  She 
corroborates  the  testimony  of  Damany  Lewis,  Crystal  Draper,  and  Damien  Northern.  Wilson 
cheated  because  she  felt  like  her  "back  was  up  against  a  wall."  Principal  Waller  walked  by  her 
classroom  often  and  said,  "I  need  the  numbers,  I  need  the  numbers."  Principal  Waller  also  said 
to  her,  "I  don't  get  no  tests,  my  hands  are  clean." 

Wilson  testified  that  Waller  "got  greedy"  in  2009.  This  led  to  more  teachers  erasing 
answers. 

On  the  first  day  of  the  2010-2011  school  year,  SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts 
told  the  teachers  that  Principal  Waller  was  being  reassigned  because  of  the  cheating  allegations. 
According  to  Wilson,  Pitts  told  the  teachers  that  "[you]  better  not  start  saying  anything  if  [you] 
have  not  already  said  it,  because  [you  will]  get  your  own  self  in  trouble." 


24 


D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


/.        Christopher  M.  Waller  (Principal) 

We  interviewed  Principal  Waller  twice  and  he  was  represented  by  counsel  on  both 
occasions.  Waller  denied  causing  or  participating  in  cheating. 

Principal  Christopher  Waller  was  first  interviewed  on  November  8,  2010.  He  could  not 
explain  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  his  school.  He  suggested  that  if  cheating 
occurred,  it  was  likely  at  the  Brewer  Center  where  the  schools  submit  the  completed  tests. 
Speaking  specifically  about  the  2009  CRCT,  Waller  claimed  that  he  was  absent  the  week  of 
testing.  Despite  Principal  Waller's  testimony,  multiple  teachers  testified  that  he  was  present  for 
the  2009  testing. 

We  interviewed  Principal  Waller  a  second  time  on  April  18,  201 1.  After  answering  a  few 
questions,  he  stepped  out  of  the  room  to  consult  with  his  attorney.  When  Waller  returned,  his 
attorney  informed  us  that  Principal  Waller  would  be  invoking  his  Fifth  Amendment  right  against 
self-incrimination.  Nonetheless,  he  continued  answering  questions. 

Principal  Waller  testified  under  oath  that  he  was  not  aware  of  anyone  erasing  answers  at 
Parks.  He  offered  several  defenses  for  why  he  would  not  have  been  involved  in  cheating, 
including:  (a)  his  "financial  situation,"  meaning  he  was  wealthy  and  would  not  compromise  his 
integrity  for  his  principal's  salary  of  approximately  $100,000  per  year;  and  (b)  the  fact  that  he 
was  a  Reverend  at  a  Methodist  Church. 

Principal  Waller  said  that  the  only  person  with  a  key  to  the  room  where  the  tests  were 
kept  was  Dr.  Kiel.  Waller  denied  ever  having  a  key  to  that  office.  Principal  Waller  told  us  that 
we  should  talk  to  Kiel.  When  asked  whether  he  remembered  any  reports  of  testing  irregularities, 
Waller  identified  only  one  instance  where  a  teacher  reported  that  a  student  wrote  an  answer 
down  for  another  student  in  2010.  (This  is  in  conflict  with  the  testimony  of  teachers.  Fabiola 
Aurelien  reported  cheating  in  2006.  Megan  Eckert  reported  a  testing  impropriety  in  2010.) 
There  was  also  an  OIR  investigation  in  2006  related  to  cheating  on  the  eighth  grade  writing  test. 

We  covertly  monitored  a  phone  call  and  a  meeting  between  Principal  Waller  and  other 
parties.  Waller  told  one  of  the  cheating  teachers  that  the  "procedure  was  followed"  and  maybe  it 
was  the  "school  district  or  the  state  [that  cheated]."  He  also  said,  "If  you  didn't  erase  yourself, 
you  have  nothing  to  worry  about."  Waller  said  that  the  investigators  were  going  to  try  to  get 
"everyone  to  lie"  about  what  happened  at  Parks,  and  that  no  one  had  to  talk  them.  Waller 
laughed  about  this  investigation  and  said  he  intends  to  file  a  lawsuit  against  the  Governor's 
investigators.  At  a  monitored  meeting,  Principal  Waller  said  that  "no  one  [at  the  school]  said 
they  touched  the  tests"  and  that  the  investigators  "[had]  nothing." 

2.        Gregory  Reid  (Assistant  Principal) 

Gregory  Reid  was  the  Assistant  Principal  during  all  of  Principal  Waller's  tenure. 
According  to  witnesses,  Reid  was  actively  involved  and  assisted  Principal  Waller  in  the  cheating 
conspiracy.  Reid  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating. 


25 


3.        Sandra  Ward  (Success  for  All  fSFA)  Facilitator) 


Sandra  Ward  was  the  SFA  Facilitator  at  Parks.  When  interviewed  by  the  GBI,  Ward 
refused  to  answer  questions  after  invoking  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  not  to  incriminate  herself. 

4.  Adrienne  Powell  (Teacher) 

Adrienne  Powell  was  a  sixth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  While  witnesses  implicated  Powell, 
she  denied  cheating  or  having  any  knowledge  of  cheating. 

5.  Kimberly  Oden  (Teacher) 

Kimberly  Oden  was  a  teacher  at  Parks  in  2009.  She  had  no  flagged  classrooms;  however, 
witnesses  say  she  erased  answers  in  2009.  Oden  is  no  longer  teaching  in  APS  and  we  were  not 
able  to  locate  her  for  an  interview. 

6.  Francesca  Thompson-Flasle  (Teacher) 

Latasha  Smiley  says  Thompson-Flagle  gave  her  a  copy  of  the  CRCT  booklet.  Thompson- 
Flagle  denied  knowledge  of  cheating,  or  that  she  gave  a  copy  of  the  test  to  anyone. 

E.       Testimony  of  Additional  Witnesses 

1.  Stacey  Johnson  (Teacher) 

Stacey  Johnson  taught  math  at  Parks.  Waller  asked  Johnson  to  cheat  and  said  that  he  just 
wanted  to  look  good  and  would  Johnson  help  make  him  look  good.  Johnson  refused  to  cheat  and 
felt  ostracized  by  Principal  Waller  for  her  refusal.  For  example,  Waller  would  meet  with  all  of 
the  academic  coaches  but  specifically  excluded  Johnson.  Waller  would  also  make  references  to 
Johnson  not  being  on  "his  team"  in  front  of  other  teachers. 

Principal  Waller  ordered  a  clerk  to  alter  attendance  records  so  that  the  school  would  meet 
the  attendance  requirement  of  AYP.  Johnson  reported  all  of  this  information  to  SRT-2  Executive 
Director  Michael  Pitts  in  2006. 

According  to  Johnson,  there  has  been  cheating  in  APS  at  least  as  far  back  as  2002.  Three 
APS  elementary  schools  feed  students  into  Parks  Middle  School:  Dunbar,  Gideons,  and  Capitol 
View.  Students  from  those  elementary  schools  arrive  and  immediately  take  a  baseline 
assessment  test.  Many  of  these  middle  school  students  would  score  on  a  first  grade  level  despite 
having  done  well  on  the  CRCT  while  in  elementary  school.  These  students  were  expected  to  do 
equally  well  on  the  CRCT  while  in  middle  school.  Those  expectations  were  unreasonable  since 
their  scores  in  elementary  school  were  artificially  inflated. 

2.  Tameka  Grant  (Teacher) 

Tameka  Grant  taught  at  Parks  from  2003  until  2006  and  knows  of  cheating  there.  She 
testified  that  eighth  grade  students  were  given  the  writing  question  prior  to  the  administration  of 
the  test. 


26 


Many  of  her  students  at  Parks  previously  attended  Gideons  Elementary.  Since  students 
scored  well  on  the  CRCT  at  Gideons,  Principal  Waller  often  said  that  the  students  should  do 
equally  well  at  Parks. 

Tameka  Grant  corroborates  the  allegations  of  other  witnesses.  Grant's  contract  with  APS 
was  not  renewed  for  the  201 1-2012  school  year.  She  believes  that  this  is  retaliation  for  speaking 
out  about  the  misconduct  at  this  school. 

3.  Fabiola  Aurelien  (Teacher) 

Fabiola  Aurelien  taught  at  Parks  from  2004  to  2006.  She  did  not  participate  in,  but  was 
aware  of,  cheating.  Teachers  cheated  on  the  CRCT  by  improperly  giving  students  the  correct 
answers.  For  example,  Damany  Lewis  walked  around  the  class  during  the  administration  of  the 
test  and  pointed  out  the  right  answers.  On  the  eighth  grade  writing  test,  someone  gave 
Aurelien' s  students  the  question. 

Principal  Waller  failed  to  give  Aurelien  a  promotion  because  she  refused  to  help  him 
cheat.  Waller  told  her  she  could  have  the  position  if  she  "would  be  on  his  team."  Aurelien  said 
that  "being  on  his  team"  meant  "cheating."  She  told  Principal  Waller  she  would  not  cheat  and  he 
did  not  promote  her. 

In  2006,  Aurelien  knew  that  Crystal  Draper  and  Dorothea  Wilson  helped  students  with 
the  CRCT.  Aurelien  reported  the  misconduct  to  Principal  Waller,  who  said  he  could  not  take 
action  unless  she  had  more  information.  Shortly  after  Aurelien  spoke  up,  Principal  Waller 
informed  all  of  the  teachers  that  Aurelien  reported  cheating  and  then  he  reported  her  allegations 
to  APS.  APS  conducted  an  investigation  into  Aurelien' s  allegations  and  she  was  interviewed 
several  times. 

Shortly  after  Aurelien  was  interviewed  by  an  investigator  for  APS  in  January  of  2006, 
SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts  held  a  meeting  with  the  faculty.  He  told  the  teachers 
that  "there  is  nothing  you  can  do  to  make  us  think  negatively  of  Principal  Waller."  Aurelien 
believes  Pitts  was  trying  to  keep  people  from  complaining  about  misconduct  at  the  school. 

4.  Megan  Eckert  (Teacher) 

Eckert  taught  special  needs  students  and  administered  the  CRCT  in  April  2010.  While 
she  was  reading  the  test  to  her  class,  after  most  classrooms  had  finished,  paraprofessional  Chynel 
Walker  came  into  Eckert' s  classroom  and  asked  to  see  the  test  booklet.  Eckert  initially  refused, 
but  then  gave  her  the  document.  Walker  quickly  took  the  test  booklet  out  of  the  classroom. 
Eckert  followed  her  into  the  hallway  where  Waller  was  standing.  Eckert  believes  Principal 
Waller  directed  Walker  to  get  a  copy  of  the  test  booklet. 

Eckert  gave  a  written  report  of  this  apparent  testing  violation  to  her  supervisor.  Principal 
Waller  summoned  Eckert  to  his  office  and  told  her  that  she  had  committed  a  testing  violation  by 
giving  Walker  the  test  booklet.  He  ordered  her  to  change  the  report  to  say  that  Walker  took  a 
"teacher's  manual"  rather  than  a  "test  booklet."  Principal  Waller  told  her  what  the  report  should 
say.  He  wrote  up  the  report  and  gave  it  to  Eckert  to  sign.  Principal  Waller  submitted  this  false 
document  to  APS  Research  Associate  Dr.  Cari  Ryan. 


27 


Eckert  also  heard  about  Sandra  Ward  and  Starlette  Mitchell  taking  tests  out  of  the  school 
in  the  coolers. 

5.        Chynel  Walker  (Paraprofessional) 

Walker  administered  the  CRCT  to  special  needs  children  who  are  given  accommodations 
on  the  CRCT.  The  test  is  read  to  them  and  there  is  no  time  limit  for  completing  the  test.  In 
2010,  Walker  started  to  turn  in  the  tests  when  she  realized  two  students  had  not  finished.  She 
told  Principal  Waller.  Principal  Waller  instructed  her  to  turn  in  all  but  the  two  unfinished  tests 
and  then  go  get  another  testing  booklet  from  Eckert.  Walker  went  to  Eckert' s  classroom  and 
took  Eckert' s  testing  booklet.  Walker  went  back  to  her  classroom  to  allow  the  students  to  finish 
the  test.  She  then  turned  in  the  tests  and  gave  Principal  Waller  the  testing  booklet.  Principal 
Waller  said  he  would  take  it  back  to  Eckert.  Eckert  later  told  Walker  that  the  booklet  was  not 
there  when  she  turned  the  test  in,  so  she  was  one  booklet  short  and  reported  a  testing  violation. 

F.        Other  Evidence 

SRT-4  Director  Tamara  Cotman  told  teachers  at  Harper- Archer  Middle  School  to  visit 
Parks  and  see  what  they  were  doing  to  achieve  such  good  CRCT  scores.  See  Testimony  of 
Lebroyce  Sublett  at  Harper-Archer. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Waller  directed  cheating  on  the  CRCT  and  a  number  of  other 
tests.  Gregory  Reid  and  Sandra  Ward  helped  Principal  Waller  facilitate  cheating.  Principal 
Waller  directed  cheating  in  essentially  the  same  manner  all  four  years  of  his  time  at  Parks  Middle 
School. 

We  further  conclude  that  Damany  Lewis,  Crystal  Draper,  Damien  Northern,  Dorothea 
Wilson,  Charles  Mitchell,  Starlette  Mitchell,  Adrienne  Powell,  Kimberly  Oden,  Francesca 
Thompson-Flagle  and  Latasha  Smiley  cheated  on  the  CRCT.  Dr.  Alfred  Kiel  was  not  involved 
in,  and  did  not  know  of,  the  cheating  at  Parks  Middle  School.  Given  the  efforts  Principal  Waller 
made  to  hide  his  scheme  from  Kiel,  we  conclude  Kiel  cannot  be  faulted  for  not  discovering  the 
cheating. 

Due  to  the  highly  unlikely  gains  in  scores  under  Principal  Waller's  leadership,  the  reports 
of  cheating  from  teachers  like  Stacey  Johnson,  and  the  investigative  report  of  Reginal  Dukes  in 
2006,  we  conclude  that  Superintendent  Beverly  Hall  and  her  cabinet  knew,  or  should  have 
known,  that  there  was  cheating  at  this  school.  Teachers  felt  as  if  they  had  no  option  but  to  do 
what  Principal  Waller  directed  them  to.  Several  teachers  reported  Waller's  misconduct  in  2005 
and  2006.  APS  did  not  discipline  Waller.  In  fact,  SRT-2  Director  Michael  Pitts  held  a  meeting 
at  Parks  and  told  the  teachers  to  "stop  writing  letters  about  Waller  because  he  is  not  going 
anywhere."  Dr.  Hall  held  Waller  out  to  the  public  as  a  "model  principal."  Michael  Pitts 
dismissed  our  investigation  and  said  that  it  was  "racist."  Pitts  attempted  to  interfere  with  and 
suppress  this  investigation. 


28 


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Why  has  this  happened?  The  answers 
involve-' new  leaders  who  received  lots 
of  support,  a  relentless  focus  on  data, 
and  involvement  by  a  broad  range  of 
partners  and  community  residents. 


In  recent  j^ears,  Atlanta's  Walter  Leonard 
Parks  Middle  School  has  beaten  the 
odds.  Despite  being  defined  as  a 
"Needs  Improvement"  school  for  eight 
straight  years — and  despite  serving 
..predominantly  Low-income. children  from  " 
■single  parent  households  in  a  struggling 
urban  neighborhood — Parks  has  witnessed 
remarkable  improvements  in  student 
achievement.  In  math,  .for  example,  the 
percentage  of  eighth  graders'  exceeding,  the: 
state's  standards  rose  from  1%  to  46%. 


29 


In  one  year  the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  meeting. standards 
in  reading  increased  by  43  percentage  points,  from  35%  to  78%. 


These  improvements  have  enabled  the 
school  to  achieve  "Adequate  Yearly  Progress" 
during  both  the  2005-2006  and  2006-2007 
school  years.  It  is  no  longer  being  defined  as 
a  "Needs  Improvement"  school  under  Title  1 
and  the  No  Child  Left  Behind  law.  - 

Parks  is  the  only  middle  school  located 
in  Atlanta's  Neighborhood  Planning  Unit 
V  (NPU-V).  NPU-V  is  south  of  downtown 
and  includes  six  historic  neighborhoods, 
including  the  Pittsburgh  neighborhood, 
where  Parks  is  located.  Pittsburgh  has 
been  a  focus  of  the  work  of  the  Annie  E. 
Casey  Foundation's  Atlanta  "Civic  Site," 
a  long-term  effort  to  make  low-income 
neighborhoods  more  supportive  of  children 
and  their  families. 


During  the  2005-2006  school  year,  Parks 
had  504  students,  nearly  all  of  whom  were 
African  American  (97%)  and  low  income 
(94%). 

Between  the  2004-2005  and  2005-2006 
school  years,  the  percentage  of  eighth  grad- 
ers meeting  standards  in  reading  increased 
by  43  percentage  points  (from  35%  to  78%), 
while  the  percentage  meeting  standards 
in  English/Language  Arts  increased  by  21 
percentage  points  (50%  to  71%).  In  math, 
the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  who  met  or 
exceeded  the  standards  increased  from  24% 
to  86%. 

Why  These  Dramatic  Gains?  A  wide 
range  of  interrelated  factors  have  contributed 
to  Parks'  success  during  the  past  few  years, 
including  improvements  made  under  a  former 
principal,  effective  and  visionary  leadership, 
data-driven  planning  and  instruction,  high 
expectations  for  staff  and  students,  strategic 
partners  (and  the  support  and  funding  they 
offer),  increased  discipline  and  professional 
development, 


Finding  Effective  Leadership 
and  a  Strong  Staff 

When  Dr.  Beverly  L.  Hall  accepted  the  lead- 
ership of  the  Atlanta  Public  School  system  in 
1999,  she  knew  that  she  would  have  to  look 
immediately  at  the  leaders  of  the  schools. 
She  quickly  began  the  process  of  changing 
principals  based  upon  the  performance  of  the 
students  in  their  schools.  "You  have  issues 
with  principals  when  the  schools  are  fail- 


30 


"You  have  to  find  someone  who  is  able  to  go  in  and,  while  not  being  a  dictator, 
gets  people's  attention  and  articulates  a  vision  and  mission 
in  a  way  that  people  want  to  be  on  board  with  it...." 

—Dr.  Beverly  L.  Hall 


ing,"  she  says,  She  sought  leaders  with  high 
standards  and  a  commitment  to  making  sure 
students  succeed. 

"You  have  to  find  someone  who  is  able 
to  lead,"  Hall  explains.  "That  sounds  vague, 
but  they  must  be  able  to  go  in  and,  while  not 
being  a  dictator,  get  people's  attention  and 
articulate  a  vision  and  mission  in  a  way  that 
people  want  to  be  on  board  with  it, . . ." 

Christopher  Waller  was  that  person  for 
Parks  Middle  School,  becoming  principal 
in  February  2005.  "I  thought  [Waller]  pos- 
sessed the  leadership  skills,"  Hall  said,  "I 
knew  he  cared  personally  for  poor  children. 
He  identified  with  them  and  knew  their 
potential." 


About  This  Report 


This  report, is  based  cn  inter  vews  cone- by  Atlanta;- 
:  Cvic  Sr.e  Dianst  Sarah  Tonan  with  i~  adninistra-  .• 

tors,  teachers,  Atlanta  Public -School  System  lead-:  -. 
;  ers.'Schoof/resourc&;providers-.::coiT|munity  parfe^r: 
.ners  and  othersTas  well  as  site  visits  It  is  alsov  ~ 
^tdrawn  fron-uarf  analysis  of  No  Child  Left  Befynd  ^  * 
*test  results  and  a  review  ofmformation  on  the  1 
-.  Atlanta  P.ubke  Schools  and  Georgia  Department  of;--.' 

Education  websites  and  otherteports'1-,    **<—  „~ 

•  .....  *     _  ^ 

\Vhi  le  this  report  foe  uses  or  the  ifactors-th  at  con-"-  ; 
r-f  *     ■-  r  -  ~"  l_ 

i  tnbuted  to  the  increases  in  student  achievement'-  -- 

cu-ing  the  2005-2006  school  year,  strategies  that .  • 

were  implemented  during  the  2006-2007  school  r--" 

■■.year  are  also,  included.because  the  interviews  ,-, 

were  conducted  over  the  course  of  eight  months  in  ' 

early  2007  ^ 


31 


"Skepticism  can  mess  up  an  organization.  If  you  have  folks  on  the  team  who  don't  think 
you  can  win,  you  are  in  trouble.  We  had  to  get  some  people  off  the  bus  first. 
Then,  we  had  to  get  the  right  people  on  the  bus." 

—Christopher  Waller 


But  Waller  was  not  the  first  principal  to 
improve  test  scores  at  Parks.  During  the  pre- 
vious three  years,  test  scores  had  increased 
steadily,  the  result  of  a  new  approach  to 
leadership  begun  by  Superintendent  Hall's 
"School  Reform  Team  2"  {or  SRT  2),.  accord- 
ing to  SRT  2  Executive  Director  Michael 
Pitts. 

"When  I  came  in  [to  lead  SRT  2],  we 
brought  in  new  leadership  at  Parks,"  explains 
Pitts.  "All  of  the  principals  in  SRT  2  and 
across  Atlanta  Public  Schools  were  being 
trained  to  turn  a  school  around  using  student 
data  and  keep  students  engaged  through 
unit-based  work.  We  were  trying  to  build 
teacher  and  student  morale." 

But  the  principal  who  helped  achieve  this 
success  had  been  dismissed  in  the  summer 
of  2004,  the  result  of  alleged  misconduct  at 
a  different  school.  This  principal's  dismissal 
caused  unrest  among  the  faculty  and  the 
community,  and  test  scores  faltered,  creating 
an  extra  challenge  for  Waller. 

To  help  meet  this  challenge,  Waller 
brought  in  a  team  of  new  leaders  that 
he  recruited  during  his  first  summer.  He 
hired  a  former  elementary  school  teacher, 
Sandra  Ward,  to  be  the  Success  For  All 
(SEA)  reading  facilitator, 

"Mr.  Waller  Intentionally  hired  an  elemen- 
tary school  reading  teacher  to  be  the  SFA 
facilitator  because  elementary  school  teachers 
have  a  strong  background  in  helping  students 
learn  to  read,"  explains  Project  GRAD 
Executive  Director  Kweku  Forstall.  (Project 


GRAD  is  a  reform  model  that  provides  sup- 
port for  teachers  and  students.). 

At  the  recommendation  of  Jackie  Daniels, 
the  interim  principal's  mentor,  Waller  hired 
an  assistant  principal,  Gregory  Reid,  to  focus 
on  student  discipline.  Waller  recognized  that 
his  focus  needed  to  be  on  instruction  and 
partner  recruitment. 

"If  I  kept  doing  all  of  the  disciplinary 
work,  I  would  never  really  have  become  the 
principal...,"  explains  Waller.  "Having  [Reid] 
on  board  has  allowed  me  to  be  the  principal, 
to  deal  with  the  things  that  principals  have  to 
deal  with." 

Waller  also  hired  a  new  Special  Education 
Administrator. 

Not  only  did  Waller  have  to  focus  on 
hiring  new  staff,  he  also  had  to  focus  on 
making  sure  the  current  staff  was  serving  in 
the  most  effective  positions.  "Skepticism  can 
mess  up  an  organization,"  explains  Waller, 
"If  you  have  folks  on  the  team  who  don't 
think  you  can  win,  you  are  in  trouble. . . . 
So  we  had  to  get  some  people  off  the  bus 
first.  Then,  we  had'  to  get  the  right  people  on 
the  bus. 

"At  first,  I  thought  that  was  it,  but  it 
wasn't.  Once  you  get  the  right  people  on 
the  bus,  you  have  to  get  them  in  the  right 
seats  on  the  bus,  That  was  the  final  stage 
and  that  is  what  we  have  been  working  on 
recently. .  ..We  are  doing  that  based  upon 
the  data,  performance,  test  scores  and 
observation." 


32 


"Basically,  all  of  the  principals'  issues  are  handled  right  here  in  this  office.  My  job  is  to  make  sure 
that  those  issues  are  taken  care  of  so  that  the  principals  can  be  instructional  leaders  and  not  have 
to  worry  about  the  more  common  things  that  they  would  have  to  worry  about  all  of  the  time." 

—Michael  Pitts 


33 


"The  rubber  hits  the  road  in  the  classroom  every  day. 
Teachers  need  ongoing  support  and  coaching  to  become  very  proficient." 

— Kweku  Forstall 


Following  Proven  Reform 
Models  and  Emphasizing 

Professional  Development 

No  school  can  increase  student  achievement 
without  effective  teaching  in  the  classroom. 
To  ensure  that  classroom  instruction  sup- 
ported student  success,  Parks  faculty  and 
leadership  drew  on  a  variety  of  resources, 
including  the  School  Reform  Team  2,  the 
Project  GRAD  reform  model,  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education  and  others. 

School  Reform  Team  2 

When  Dr.  Beverly  Hall  became  Adanta  Pub- 
lic Schools  superintendent,  she  brought  with 
her  the  idea  of  School  Reform  Teams  (SRT). 
SRTs  are  designed  to  be  one-stop  shops, 
providing  the  schools  in  each  team  with  the 
supports  and  services  they  need  to  most  ef- 
fectively serve  and  teach  their  students.  Each 
SRT,  led  by  an  executive  director  who  has 
been  a  successful  principal,  offers  support  to 
its  schools  on  maintenance,  hiring  and  legal 
issues  as  well  as  teacher  training,  mentoring 
and  coaching. 

"Basically,  all  of  the  principals'  issues  are 
handled  right  here  in  this  office,"  explains 
SRT  2  Executive  Director  Fitts.  "My  job  is 
to  make  sure  that  those  issues  are  taken  care 
of  so  that  the  principals  can  be  instructional 
leaders  and  not  have  to  worry  about  the 
more  common  things  that  they  would  have  to 
worry  about  all  of  the  time." 


"Leadership  team  meetings  have  to  be 
instruction  ally  focused,"  explains  Dr.  Cheryl 
Hunley,  a  retired  principal  brought  in  to  sup- 
h  ;port  principals  at  Parks  and  six  other  schools. 
""There  are  other  meetings  in  which  you  can 
deal  with  the  facilities  and  the  technical 
aspects  of  the  job,  but  the  leadership  team 
must  have  an  instructional  focus  to  deter- 
mine what  they  need  and  where  they  go  from 
■  here." 

!   Project  GRAD 

Project  GRAD  is  the  reform  model  that 
was  launched  in  SRT  2  schools  to  help  them 
improve  student  achievement  and  success  at 

\    the  be  ginning  of  the  2002-2003  school  year. 
Project  GRAD  seeks  to  ensure  a  quality  pub- 
lic school  education  for  all  at-risk  children  in 
economically  disadvantaged  communities  so 
that  high  school  graduation  rates  increase  and 
graduates  are  prepared  to  enter  and  succeed 

f  .in  college,  It  focuses  on  training  and  support 
'  for  teachers  to  help  them  deliver  quality 
instruction  and  effectively  manage  their  class- 

;  rooms. 

Project  GRAD  includes  professional 
development  for  teachers,  ongoing  support 
with  constructive  feedback,  coaching  and 
re-training  when  necessary.  This  support  has 
!   been  critical,  Waller  believes.  "It  was  the 
professional  development  that  paved  the  way 
to  increase  the  teachers'  knowledge  base  and 
their  arsenals  of  strategies," 


34 


"Data  increases  your  awareness.  You  can't  know 
where  you  are  going  if  you  don't  know  where  you  are." 

—Christopher  Waller 


Using  Data  in  the  Classroom 


Data  has  become  a  critical  tool  to  improve  stu- 
dent success  at  Parks  Middle  School,  being  used 
by  the  school's  teachers  and  administrators  in 
their  planning  and  instruction.  They  use  data  to 
regularly  assess  how  well  students  are  learning, 
whether  the  school  is  meeting  its  School  Reform 
Team-required  benchmarks  and  whether  students 
are  prepared  for  their  "Criterion  Referenced  Com- 
petency Tests." 

After  conveying  information  focused  on  a  set 
of  objectives  {such  as  measuring  perimeter  and 
area),  a  teacher  will  assess  the  students'  mastery 
of  those  objectives  with  a  short  test.  Each  ques- 
tion will  be  linked  to  one  of  the  covered  objec- 
tives. The  teacher  will  review  the  results  of  the 


assessment  and  will  compile  a  summary  for  each 
student  of  which  questions  they  missed  and  how 
these  questions  align  with  the  learning  objectives. 

The  students  will  be  assigned  to  small  groups 
or  "pods"  based  upon  which  objectives  they 
hadn't  mastered.  For  the  next  few  days,  the  small 
groups  will  work  together  on  problems  related 
to  that  objective  and  review  their  homework  and 
class  notes  on  that  topic.  Students  who  did  not 
miss  any  questions  will  be  provided  with  more 
challenging  work  or  reinforcement  exercises  tar- 
geted to  their  needs. 

These  regular  class  assessments  are  comple- 
mented by  assessments  required  by  SRT  2  every 
nine  weeks,  which  ensure  that  students  are  pro- 
gressing and  which 
identify  those  who  are 
falling  behind  so  that 
they  can  receive  ad- 
ditional support. 


Waller  says  that  when  he 
became  principal  "I  gave 
the  data  to  everybody.... 
and  they  used  it  for 
instructional  purposes.... 
Even  the  kids  know 
their  data."  Here  Waller 
and  Casey  Foundation 
education  consultant 
Elizabeth  Kelly  discuss 
data  on  test  scores  that 
is  posted  in  the  school's 
hallway. 


35 


"Ms.  Huniey  has  been  there,  done  that.  She  provides  quality  advice  to  our  administrative 
leaders  and  they  convey  the  ideas  to  us  in  a  way  that  works  for  our  school." 

— Damany  Lewis 


"The  rubber  hits  the  road  in  the  class- 
room every  day,"  says  Kweku  horstall,  Project 
GRAD  Atlanta's  executive  director.  "Teachers 
need  ongoing  support  and  coaching  to  be- 
come very  proficient  in  delivering  their  areas 
of  instruction. . . .  Experienced  teachers  who 
are  good  shouLd  be  helping  less  proficient 
teachers  through  mentoring  and  visiting 
classrooms  and  sharing  best  practices." 

Project  GRAD  also  does  data  collection 
and  evaluation.  Data  collection  includes 
quarterly  assessments  in  reading  and  math 
and  semi-annual  class  visits  to  evaluate  class- 
room management.  Data  are  also  collected  to 
track  discipline  referrals,  parent  involvement 
and  student  attendance  and  to  measure  the 
change  in  public  perceptions  of  school  safety 
and  organization. 

"Data  increases  your  awareness,"  says 
Waller.  "You  can't  know  where  you  are  going 
if  you  don't  know  where  you  are." 

Recognizing  that  non-academic  issues 
can  serve  as  barriers  to  student  achievement, 
Project  GRAD  partners  with  Communities 
In  Schools  (CIS)  to  provide  services  to 
address  those  issues.  CIS  support  helps 
increase  student  attendance  and  parent 
involvement  and  includes  one-on-one  and 
small  group  counseling  with  at-risk  students, 
as  well  as  access  to  dental,  hearing  and  vision 
exams. 

"GRAD  is  not  an  overnight  results 
program,"  explains  Forstall.  "It's  about 
incremental  progress  in  trying  to  close  the 
achievement  gap." 


Training  and  support  from  the 
Georgia  Department  of  Education 

In  an  effort  to  support  "Needs  Improve- 
anent"  schools,  the  Education  Department's 
State  School  Improvement  Division  began 
to  provide  expert  consultation  to  struggling 
schools  in  2004.  The  state  assigned  Dr. 
Cheryl  Huniey  to  serve  in  Parks  and  six  other 
area  schools.  She  was  trained  by  the  state  and 
given  a  set  of  tools,  instruments  and  resources 
to  support  school  improvement  in  the  tar- 
geted schools, 

She  came  on  board  at  Parks  during  the 
summer  of  2004,  immediately  following  the 
removal  of  the  former  principal.  She  worked 
closely  with  both  the  interim  principal 
and  Principal  Waller  to  identify  areas  for 
potential  improvement.  She  has  also  pro- 
vided training  to  the  staff,  making  sure  they 
understood  the  state  standards  and  how  the 
curriculum  prepares  the  students  to  meet 
;ihose  standards. 

"We  have  had  to  go  back  and  do  pro- 
fessional learning  on  rigor,  relevance  and 
relationship,"  she  explains.  "If  it  is  not  impor- 
tant, we  don't  teach  it. ...  A  child's  project  is 
no  better  than  the  assignment  you  give  them. 
You  can't  give  them  busy  work. . . .  [The  teach- 
ers] are  focused  on  the  standards." 

"Ms.  Huniey  has  been  there,  done  that," 
explains  Damany  Lewis,  a  seventh  grade 
math  teacher  at  Parks.  "She  provides  quality 
advice  to  our  administrative  leaders  and  they 
convey  the  ideas  to  us  in  a  way  that  works  for 
our  school." 


36 


"Many  of  the  teachers  talked  about  how  well  the  students  had  done  before. 
We  had  to  have  the  conversation  that,  if  they  had  done  well  before, 
I  wouldn't  be  here  because  you  would  not  be  in  restructuring..,." 

— Dr.  Cheryl  Hunley 


The  professional  development  provided 
through  Project  GRAD,  SRT  2  and  Georgia 
DOE  has  paved  the  way  for  increasing  the 
teachers'  knowledge  base  and  their  "treasure 
chests"  of  strategies  to  improve  learning. 

"There  are  more  deliberate  meetings 
around  curriculum  happening  on  a  consistent 
basis,"  reports  Catalina  Sibilsky,  Principal 
in  Residence  of  Atlanta  Public  Schools  and 
Project  Manager  of  Atlanta's  middle  school 
transformation  work.  "There  are  more  tools 
for  consistent  use  of  assessments.  There  are 
lots  more  conversations  around  curriculum 
instruction." 


Using  Data  To  Drive  Instruction 

and  Develop  Individual 
Learning  Plans 

During  Superintendent  Hall's  eight-year  ten- 
ure at  APS,  the  system  has  increased  its  use 
of  data  to  drive  instruction  and  track  student 
progress. 

APS  workshops  emphasize  the  need  to  let 
the  data  drive  instruction,  and  APS  continues 
■to  implement  new  technology  to  support 
teachers'  and  schools'  efforts  to  use  data  to 
increase  student  achievement. 


To  keep  close  track  on  how  students  are  progressing, 
Parks  Middle  School  students  take  frequent  tests. 


37 


"It's  not  magic.  You  focus  on  the  data  to  determine  where  to  place  resources. 
If  the  reading  level  is  down  in  one  grade,  you  focus  additional  resources 
on  students  and  teachers  at  that  level." 

— Kweku  Forstall 


"It's  not  magic,"  explains  Project  GRAD's 
Forstall.  "You  focus  on  the  data  to  determine 
where  to  place  resources.  If  the  reading  level 
is  down  in  one  grade,  you  focus  additional 
resources  on  students  and  teachers  at  that 
level.  You  look  at  the  data  ana  you  hold 
people  accountable." 

As  the  2005—2006  school  year  began, 
the  teachers  and  administrators  at  Parks 
examined  the  data  and  planned  accordingly, 
"[Waller]  is  a  little  more  focused  on  Lhe  data 
and  where  they  have  to  go  with  regards  to 
AYP  [Adequate  Yearly  Progress]  in  order  to 
be  successful,"  explains  SRT  2's  Pitts,  "His 
acceleration  in  using  the  data  and  the  data 
'dashboards'  probably  allowed  him  to  move 
faster  than  others." 

Data  were  already  being  used  to  guide 
instruction  and  planning  at  Parks,  but 
Waller  changed  the  way  that  it  was  used  and 
integrated  it  more  deeply  into  the  planning, 
decision-making  and  instruction.  Before 
he  joined  the  staff,  awareness  of  the  data 
was  limited  and  those  who  were  aware  of  it 
tended  to  use  it  for  quotation  purposes  rather 
than  planning  purposes. 

"When  I  came,  I  gave  the  data  to  every- 
body," Waller  explains.  "Everybody  knew  the 
data... and  they  used  it  for  instruction  pur- 
poses....  Even  the  kids  know  their  data.  They 
can  tell  you  their  individual  scores  and  wdiat 
their  goal  is." 

"You  have  to  let  the  data  drive  the 
instruction,"  says  Sandra  Ward,  the  school's 
reading  facilitator.  "Not  just  from  bench- 


marks and  standardized  tests.  Data  needs  to 
drive  day-by-day  teaching.  In  each  lesson  you 
need  to  assess  the  students  to  make  sure  they 
have  mastered  it." 

The  limited  awareness  and  understanding 
of  the  data  was  evidenced  in  Hunley's 
coaching  of  some  of  the  faculty.  "Many 
of  the  teachers  tallced  about  how  well  the 
students  had  done  before  [Mr.  Waller  was 
hired],"  Hunlcy  remembers.  "We  had  to  have 
the  conversation  that,  if  they  had  done  well 
before,  I  wouldn't  be  here  because  you  would 
not  be  in  restructuring...,  They  perceived  that 
the  years  before  were  so  much  better.  They 
did  not  understand  that  the  data  did  not 
substantiate  what  they  were  saying." 

She  began  to  realize  that  their  evalua- 
tion of  the  school's  performance  was  based 
not  on  student  achievement,  but  on  how 
comfortable  they  were  in  their  job.  "There 
was  a  culture,  a  comfort  zone,  that  was  good 
for  them,"  she  adds.  "One  of  the  things  Mr. 
Waller  had  to  do  was  break  up  that  comfort 
zone  because  that  was  not  good  for  the  kids. 
They  equated  doing  well  with  doing  what 
they  wanted  to  do." 

Superintendent  Hall  agrees  about  the 
importance  of  insisting  on  accountability. 
;"People  have  a  hard  time  pointing  out  non- 
performance. They  like  the  people  and  know 
their  personal  situations,  so  they  will  make 
excuses  for  them  because  they  are  too  nice 
and  unable  to  deal  with  low  performance. 
A  good  leader  goes  in,  takes  time  to  assess, 
but  knows  that  the  core  business  is  to  make 


38 


"You  have  to  let  the  data  drive  the  instruction.  Not  just  from  benchmarks  and  standardized  tests. 
Data  needs  to  drive  day-by-day  teaching.  In  each  lesson  you  need  to  assess 
the  students  to  make  sure  they  have  mastered  it." 

— Sandra  Ward 


sure  students  succeed.  You  have  to  have 
courage." 

Hunley  helped  Parks'  teachers  to  look 
at  the  data  and  to  understand  what  was 
required  to  meet  Adequate  Yearly  Progress 
and  why  they  were  not  achieving  it.  "We  had 
some  very  intelligent  teachers  who  just  didn't 
understand  the  process,"  she  explains. 

"Once  we  got  the  numbers  right,  we 
could  put  names  with  the  numbers. . . .  We 
were  able  to  pull  the  data  by  teachers  so  we 
knew  who  was  being  effective  and  who  was 
not.  When  we  identified  the  effective  teach- 
ers, we  could  look  more  closely  at  what  they 
were  doing." 

The  data  is  not  only  used  to  guide  school 
and  class  planning,  it  is  also  used  to  develop 
plans  for  each  student.  Beginning  during 
the  2006—2007  school  year,  teachers  and 
faculty  at  Parks  break  the  data  down  for 
each  student,  creating  prescriptive  Individual 
Learning  Plans. 

"It's  just  like  when  you  go  to  the  doctor," 
explains  Waller.  "When  we  give  them  individ- 
ual instruction  based  upon  their  chart,  we  are 
able  to  work  on  their  individual  deficiencies." 

Each  student  has  an  academic  chart 
displaying  their  strengths  and  weaknesses  so 
that  their  teachers  and  tutors  can  provide 
targeted  instruction.  Traditionally,  these  types 
of  prescriptive  learning  plans  are  used  only 
for  students  in  special  education  classes,  but 
at  Parks  they  are  used  for  all  students. 


Setting  High  Expectations 
and  Cultivating  Support 

When  Waller  became  principal  at  Parks,  lie 
was  determined  to  turn  around  a  long-time 
failing  school  by  eliminating  the  achievement 
gap  between  Parks  students  and  those  at 
other  Atlanta  schools.  Several  faculty  and 
staff  members  were  wary  and  distrustful 
when  Waller  came  on  board,  and  he  had  to 
work  hard  to  enlist  their  support  for  his  new 
efforts. 

The  community  was  also  uneasy, 
"We  didn't  know  how  long  he  would  be 
there,"  explains  Pittsburgh  Community 
Improvement  Association  Executive  Director 
LaShawn  Hoffman.  "I  heard  that  a  lot  from 
the  community  at  the  beginning  of  his 
tenure.  We  had  a  new  principal  who  had 
never  been  a  principal  before.  We  thought 
they  were  hiring  him  because  APS  didn't 
care.  You  better  believe  that  we  heard  a  lot  of 
that." 

Waller  stressed  the  school's  strengths 
and  helped  it  to  address  its  weaknesses. 
"Our  comfort  zone  was  snatched  up  when 
Mr,  Waller  was  brought  in,  but  he  handled 
that  well,"  remembers  Lewis,  "He  didn't 
come  in  saying  'You  are  Needs  Improvement; 
what  you  have  been  doing  hasn't  been 
working  so  you  have  to  do  it  my  way, ' 
He  said,  'You  have  been  improving 
consistently  over  the  past  few  years,  so  let's 
keep  doing  what  you  were  doing,  but  let's 
improve  it.'" 


39 


"People  have  a  hard  time  pointing  out  non-performance.  They  like  the  people  and  know  their 
personal  situations,  so  they  will  make  excuses  for  them  because  they  are  too  nice  and  unable  to 
deal  with  low  performance.  You  have  to  have  courage," 

—Dr.  Beverly  L.  Hall 


A  new  way  to  build 

a  team  within  the  school 

One  strategy  that  Waller  used  to  enlist  the 
support  of  school  staff  was  to  arrange  for  a 
professional  development  retreat  in  Destin, 
Florida,  during  his  first  summer  as  principal. 
There  lie  was  able  to  bond  with  his  new 
team. 


"Tbe  culture  was  such  that  they  were 
stonewalling  him,"  remembers  Hunley,  "He 
decided.., to  take  them  to  Florida,  for  some 
team  building.  There  are  places  they  could 
have  gone  in  town,  but  this  was  a  way  to 
really  get  them  out  of  their  normal  frame  of 
reference....  It  was  a  wonderful  trip!  I  could 
see  when  they  were  lighting  up  and  connect- 
ing with  him." 


.  i 

40 


"The  culture  was  such  that  they  were  stonewalling  him.  He  decided. ..to  take  them  to  Florida  for 
some  team  building.  There  are  places  they  could  have  gone  in  town,  but  this  was  a  way  to  really 
get  them  out  of  their  normal  frame  of  reference....  It  was  a  wonderful  trip!" 

— Dr.  Cheryl  Hunley 


During  the  retreat,  Waller  introduced 
some  new  teaching  strategies,  including  "Dif- 
ferentiating Instruction"  and  "Inclusion  and 
Collaboration."  Differentiating  Instruction 
recognizes  that  individual  students  have  dif- 
ferent abilities  and  learn  in  different  ways,  It 
creates  multiple  paths  so  that  all  students  ex- 
perience equally  appropriate  ways  to  absorb, 
use,  develop  and  present  concepts  as  a  part 
of  the  daily  learning  process. 

Inclusion  and  Collaboration  brings  stu- 
dents with  special  learning  and  behavior  needs 
into  the  general  education  program  full-time 
with  additional  support  staff  in  the  classroom. 
It  also  provides  teachers  the  comprehensive 
professional  development  to  help  them  de- 
velop collaborative  skills  so  that  all  students 
can  succeed  in  this  new  environment. 

"We  didn't  have  teachers  protesting 
because  we  didn't  talk  about  that  at  school. 
We  talked  about  it  in  Destin — on  the  beach," 
explains  Waller  with  a  grin.  "It  is  hard  to  kick 
an  idea  when  you  are  on  the  beach.  I  think 
we  might  have  received  a  different  reaction 
if  we  had  introduced  it  in  the  school's  media 
center." 

Another  strategy  he  used  to  gain  the  sup- 
port of  school  staff  was  to  increase  discipline. 
"Once  I  became  principal,  I  knew  the  very 
first  thing  I  had  to  do  was  get  the  climate 
back  under  control,"  explains  Waller.  "Teach- 
ers love  you  when  you  are  getting  control  of 
the  kids  so  that  was  the  first  thing  we  did. . . . 
You  have  to  have  a  climate  that  is  conducive 
to  learning," 


Setting  a  Clear  Vision 

At  the  2005  ceremony  to  honor  the  eighth 
graders  who  were  being  promoted  to  high 
school,  Waller  outlined  his  vision  of  success 
for  Parks.  He  told  students,  parents  and  fac- 
ility members,  "If  it  can  be  done  in  Buckhead 
[a  wealthy  Atlanta  neighborhood],  it  can  be 
done  right  here  in  Pittsburgh,"  remembers 
Waller. 

"Oh,  they  shouted  and  they  clapped.  That 
was  the  most  amazing  statement  they  had 
ever  heard,  that  their  children  could  succeed 
just  like  the  children  on  the  other,  richer  side 
of  town." 

Waller  and  his  staff  repeatedly  stressed  the 
simple  vision  of  eliminating  the  achievement 
gap,  "We  didn't  get  into  the  'la-la-la  (comma) 
la-la-la  (comma)  la-la-la  of  educational  jar- 
gon,'" he  explains.  "We  kept  it  very  simple, 
We  said,  'If  it  can  be  done  anywhere,  it  can 
be  done  right  here  at  Parks.  Academically,  we 
will  eliminate  the  achievement  gap.'" 

To  achieve  that  simple  vision,  Waller 
immediately  set  higher  expectations  for 
the  students,  teachers,  administrators 
and  community  partners  at  Parks.  "Waller 
has  informed  the  kids  that  they  are  not 
a  hopeless  cause,"  explains  Hoffman  of 
the  Pittsburgh  Community  Improvement 
Association.  "He  sets  high  standards 
and  demands  accountability.  From  my 
perspective,  he  holds  the  children  and  adults 
in  the  school — including  the  teachers  and 
p  arapro  f e  ssi  onals — accountable . " 


41 


"Once  I  became  principal,  i  knew  the  very  first  thing  I  had  to  do  was  get  the  climate  back 
under  control.  Teachers  love  you  when  you  are  getting  control  of  the  kids, 
You  have  to  have  a  climate  that  is  conducive  to  learning," 

—Christopher  Waller 


But  high  expectations  by  themselves 
"don't  mean  much  without  buy  in,"  Waller 
says.  "The  students  had  to  buy  in,  the 
parents  bad  to  buy  in  and  the  community 
had  to  buy  in.  That  helped  to  implement  the 
strategies  that  would  make  trie  expectations 
attainable . " 

Parents  and  community  residents  became 
more  involved  in  the  student  success  effort 
when  the  school  began  opening  its  doors  to 
them  and  providing  an  array  of  services  and 
programs,  "We  involved  parents,"  explains 
Lewis.  "We  have  a  GED  course  here.,,.  We 
have  Saturday  Schools.  Last  year,  we  had  a 
program  where  parents  could  come  to  take  a 
six-week  computer  class  and  get  a  free  com- 
puter when  they  finished. . . .  When  you  start 
bringing  the  community  into  it,  the  students 
respond." 

Waller  and  others  constantiy  high- 
lighted the  various  small  and  large 
achievements  the  school  made  at 
every  chance  they  got.  Waller  reports  carrying 
an  ever-changing  note  card  in  his  packet  with 
him  wherever  he  went.  Whenever  he  got  the 
chance — at  faculty  meetings,  at  community 
meetings,  when  he  was  speaking  with  stu- 
dents in  the  hall — he  would  pull  the  card  out 
and  announce  the  achievements. 

To  show  the  students  that,  despite  their 
families'  current  economic  conditions,  they 
could  achieve  their  dreams,  Waller  made  sure 
that  students  knew  that  he  had  once  walked 
in  their  shoes. 


"When  people  and  the  students  see  us, 
they  tend  to  see  us  just  as  we  are  today," 
shares  Waller,  "They  don't  know  what  you 
had  to  go  through  to  get  where  you  are.  I 
realized  that  I  couldn't  be  ashamed  to  show 
my  children  where  I  had  been.  I  told  them 
where  they  are  today  is  not  where  they  will 
be  tomorrow.  I  told  them,  'I  have  been  where 
you  are  and  now,  look  at  where  I  am.'  You 
talk  about  it.  You  model  to  them.  You  show 
them  that  they  can  get  to  where  they  want  to 
go," 

Superintendent  Hall  agrees  with  Waller's 
high  expectations  for  the  students  at  Parks . 
"When  I  can  stand  in  front  of  my  principals 
and  read  the  list  of  highest-performing 
schools  in  the  district,  a  list  that  runs  the 
gamut  from  schools  in  the  highest  income 
areas  to  schools  in  the  lowest  income  areas, 
there  are  no  excuses,"  says  Hall. 

"While  I  believe  the  impact  of  extreme 
poverty  should  not  be  ignored,  I  know  that . 
we  have  to  address  the  quality  of  teaching, 
and  learning,  since  that  is  the  most  important 
variable  in  this  equation." 

Parks  staff,  administrators  and  partners 
knew  that  the  students  were  on  board  when 
they  witnessed  their  reaction  to  a  math 
benchmark  test  in  the  spring  of  2006.  The 
benchmark  test  showed  that  they  were  far 
from  prepared  for  the  CRCT  ("Criterion 
Referenced  Competency  Test")  math  test.  At 
the  urging  of  Hunley  (the  retired  principal 
brought  in  as  a  consultant  by  the  state 
education  department),  Waller  called  an  im- 
promptu "community  meeting"  of  the  eighth 
graders  in  the  school  hallway. 


42 


"We  involved  parents.  We  have  a  GED  course  here. 
We  have  Saturday  schools,  a  six-week  computer  class  for  parents. 
When  you  start  bringing  the  community  into  it,  the  students  respond." 

— Damany  Lewis 


Waller  "preached"  to  them,  lighting  a 
competitive  fire  under  them  and  explaining 
that  the  staff  would  do  everything  they  could 
to  help  the  students  pass  the  test.  Hunley 
remembers  Waller  saying,  "A  lot  of  folks  out- 
side of  this  school  say  you  can't  do  ^because 
of  where  you  live,  but  1  know  you  can  do  it!  I 
know  you  are  smart.  I  see  you  every  day  and 
I  look  at  you.  I  know  you  can  do  this." 

At  that  community  meeting,  the  staff  and 
faculty  pledged  to  do  whatever  was  necessary 
to  help  the  students  learn,  A  voluntary  math 
tutorial  class  quickly  filled  to  capacity  with 
students  sitting  on  the  floor  to  attend.  Weeks 
later,  40%  of  those  students  met  the  state 
standards  in  math  while  an  additional  46% 
exceeded  the  standards. 


"All  children  can  learn,"  says  Ward,  Parks' 
reading  facilitator.  "This  is  what  we  have 
been  telling  our  children  over  and  over  again. 
As  long  as  you  focus,  develop  a  goal  and  a 
dream,  you  can  accomplish  it." 

Celebration  is  another  critical  factor 
involved  in  getting  the  cooperation 
and  buy-in  of  students  and  faculty 
members.  The  school  celebrates  at  every  op- 
portunity, demonstrating  to  the  students  that, 
if  they  work  hard,  good  things  will  happen. 
With  the  support  of  partners,  including  the 
Salvation  Army,  Communities  In  Schools 
(CIS)  and  the  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation, 
the  school  threw  parties  to  celebrate  high 
attendance  rates  and  academic  success.  If  a 


is"! 


|-~  attendance 
at  Parks  has 
improved 
dramatically. 
Before, 
If  nearly 
20%  of 
|i  students 
Is  missed  at 
if  least  15 
jj'  days.  Last 

year,  only 
!'  one  student 
|  missed  this 
many  days 
(0.2%). 


43 


"All  children  can  learn.  This  is  what  we  have  been  telling  our  children  over  and  over  again. 
As  long  as  you  focus,  develop  a  goal  and  a  dream,  you  can  accomplish  it." 

—Sandra  Ward 


student  came  to  school  every  day  in  a  month, 
their  name  went  into  a  drawing  and  they 
could  win  television  sets,  game  systems  or 
bicycles. 

"With  CIS  and  the  NBA*( Never  .Been 
Absent)  Program,  we  have  lots  of  incentives 
in  place  to  motivate  them  to  come  and  to 
succeed,"  explains  Assistant  Principal  Reid. 
"Just  being  in  Parks  everyday,  you  never  know 
what  might  happen  to  you ....  That  gets  and 
holds  your  attention." 

Efforts  to  encourage  student  attendance 
have  had  a  significant  effect.  Whereas  19.2% 
of  students  missed  at  least  15  school  days 
during  the  2003—2004  school  year,  that  num- 
ber was  nearly  cut  in  half  the  following  year 
(down  to  9.9%).  Attendance  has  continued  to 
improve  dramatically  with  only  2.5%  missing 
at  least  15  days  in  2005-2006  and  only  one 
student  (.2%)  reaching  that  threshold  during 
the  last  school  year. 

Lewis  believes  that  one  reason  for  the 
drop  in  absenteeism  is  the  increased  rigor  of 
the  class  work.  Students  are  given  make-up 
assignments  that  become  increasingly  dif- 
ficult to  do  when  they  miss  multiple  days 
of  school.  "If  you  miss  a  day  you  can  get 
behind;  if  you  miss  two  or  three  days,  you  are 
lost,"  explains  Lewis.  "They  come  back  saying 
that  they  don't  get  it.  I  say,  'That's  good.'  If 
you  can  miss  a  day  and  still  get  it,  I'm  not 
doing  my  job,'" 


Building  Strategic  Partnerships 

and  Broad  Support 

When  Waller  was  hired  at  Parks,  the  school 
had  almost  no  corporate  or  community 
partners  and  only  three  parents  came  to 
meet  him  at  an  introductory  meeting 
organized  by  the  school's  Parent-Teacher 
Association. 

{.     The^Pittsburgh  Community  Improvement 
'Association  (PCIA)  had  been  in  partnership 
with  the  school,  but  that  partnership  had 
struggled  as  staff  changes  at  the  school  and 
in  the  organization  forced  them  to  repeatedly 
build  new  relationships.  PCIA  had  helped 
the  school  recruit  two  business  partners, 
Jones  Day  Law  Firm  and  Carey  Limousines, 
located  near  Parks  in  the  Pittsburgh  neigh- 
borhood. Those  businesses  had  become 
frustrated  because  of  the  changes  at  the 
school  and  a  lack  of  structure  to  the  partner- 
ships. 

"There  was  a  consistent  effort  on  the  part 
of  PCIA,"  remembers  PCIA's  Hoffman, 
"but  the  leadership  changed  so  much  at 
Parks  that  there  was  not  an  opportunity  to 
establish  a  formal  structure.. ,.  People  didn't 
/think  their  efforts  would  achieve  anything 
and  it  was  easier  to  not  do  anything  than  to 
keep  trying."  • 

Recognizing  a  need  to  recruit  additional 
partners,  Waller  began  to  attend  meetings  of 
the  neighborhood's  Ministers'  Alliance.  There 
he  met  several  strategic  partners,  including 
PCIA's  Hoffman  and  Major  Gloria  Reagan  of 


44 


"We  didn't  know  how  long  he  would  be  there.  I  heard  that  a  lot  from  the  community  at  the 
beginning  of  his  tenure.  We  had  a  new  principal  who  had  never  been  a  principal  before. 
We  thought  they  were  hiring  him  because  APS  didn't  care." 

— LaShawn  Hoffman 


the  Salvation  Army  College  of  Officer  Train- 
ing, located  in  the  Pittsburgh  neighborhood. 

His  efforts  became  more  successful  when 
the  Casey  Foundation's  Atlanta  Civic  Site 
team  contacted  APS  and  Parts  in  an.effort 
to  establish  a  partnership.  This  occurred  after 
The  Arthur  M.  Blank  Family  Foundation 
made  an  initial  commitment  to  support  the 
redesign  of  The  New  Schools  at  Carver,  the 
high  school  into  which  Parks  feeds.  To  date, 
The  Blank  Foundation  has  committed  $4.5 
million  to  fund  student  support  programs  for 
students  at  The  New  Schools  at  Carver  as  a 
part  of  a  larger  redesign  effort. 


Leaders  at  The  Blank  Foundation  pre- 
vailed upon  Casey  to  work  with  Parks  to 
ensure  that  its  students  were  prepared  for  the 
rigor  of  The  New  Schools. 

"[The  Blank  Foundation]  said  they  felt 
that  The  New  Schools  at  Carver  would  be 
more  successful  if  the  whole  pipeline — the 
whole  feeder  system — was  successful,"  ex- 
plains the  Casey  Foundation's  Atlanta  Civic 
Site  Manager,  Gail  Hayes.  'They  identified 
that  Parks  was  a  very  low  performing  school. 
They  saw  high  achieving  elementary  schools 
and  a  failing  middle  school  feeding  into  The 
New  Schools  at  Carver,  and  they  knew  that 
student  achievement  at  Parks  would  have  to 


Pittsburgh 
Community 
Improvement 
Association's 
LaShawn  Hoffman 
says  that  before 
Christopher  Waller 
became  Parks' 
principal,  the 
leadership  had 
changed  so  often 
that  "people  didn't 
think  their  efforts 
would  achieve 
anything." 


45 


"I  did  a  lot  of  reading  and  listening  when  I  first  began  this  work.  What  I  determined — and  this  is 
not  rocket  science — is  that  the  school  needed  to  increase  parent  involvement  and  attract  more 
corporate  partners.  They  needed  other  supports  to  really  increase  student  achievement." 

--Elizabeth  Kelly 


increase  in  order  for  their  investment  to  be 
successful." 

The  partnership  began  with  a  meeting  in 
the  summer  of  2005  between.  Hayes,  Princi- 
pal Waller,  SRT  2  Executive  Director-Pitts, 
Project  GRAD  Executive  Director  Forstall, 
Casey  Senior  Associate  for  Education  Bruno 
Manno  and  Casey  Consultant  Elizabeth 
Kelly.  In  that  meeting,  Hayes  challenged 
Waller  and  his  team  to  set  the  ambitious  goal 
of  achieving  Adequate  Yearly  Progress  in  the 
next  school  year,  a  goal  that  Waller  and  Pitts 
readily  accepted. 

Kelly  began  her  work  to  support  Parks  by 
meeting  with  Waller  and  other  school  staff 
and  partners  and  researching  what  programs 
were  in  place  at  the  school  and  what  oppor- 
tunities existed  for  targeted  supports, 

"I  did  a  lot  of  reading  and  listening  when 
I  first  began  this  work,"  explains  Kelly.  "What 
I  determined — and  this  is  not  rocket  sci- 
ence— is  that  the  school  needed  to  increase 
parent  involvement  and  attract  more  cor- 
porate partners.  They  felt  that  they  were  on 
track  to  meet  AYP  that  year,  but  they  needed 
other  supports  to  really  increase  student 
achievement."  ' 

After  Casey  began  partnering  with  Parks, 
Waller's  efforts  to  recruit  partners 
became  much  easier.  "I  want  to  make 
it  clear  that  Casey  brought  other  partners  to 
the  table....  I  can  focus  on  the  instruction 
and  implementation  of  the  curriculum  with 
integrity....  Prior  to  Casey,  Parks  wasn't 


invited  to  the  table,  Now,  when  people  talk 
about  NPU-V,  they  are  talking  about  Parks 
in  some  component,"  (NPU-V  is  the  "neigh- 
borhood planning  unit"  that  includes  Parks 
Middle  School.) 

Parks'  partners  now  include  After  School 
All  Stars,  Communities  In  Schools,  Digital 
Connectors-One  Economy,  Georgia  State 
University,  Hands  On  Atlanta,  Mendez 

i    Foundation,  the  Ministers'  Alliance,  Music  . 

It  ^Matters,  Pittsburgh  Community  Improve- 
ment Association,  Salvation  Army  College 
of  Officer  Training,  United  Way,  Casey 
Foundation  and  community  associations. 
While  some  of  these  partners  joined  Parks 
as  a  part  of  Project  GRAD,  the  diversity  and 
scope  of  partners  has  greatly  increased  in 
recent  years. 

These  partners  provide  a  wide  variety 
of  in-kind  and  financial  support.  Salvation 
Army  supports  the  Never  Been  Absent 
Program,  hosts  GED  and  Literacy  classes 
for  adults  during  the  evening  at  Parks,  and 
provides  food  and  materials  when  requested. 

United  Way,  Georgia  State,  Casey 
and  After  School  All  Stars  support  the  new 
after-school  program  launched  in  October 
■I  -2006  to  provide  additional  targeted  assis- 
•  '  'tance  to  students  who  are  near  the  threshold 
of  meeting  standards.  Hands  On  Atlanta 
provides  tutoring  to  students  in  need  of  ad- 
ditional one-on-one  support  and  has  provided 
computers  to  students. 

The  Casey  Foundation  sponsored  a 
staff  celebration  at  Dave  and  Busters  and 


46 


"I  want  to  make  it  clear  that  Casey  brought  other  partners  to  the  table.... 
1  can  focus  on  the  instruction  and  implementation  of  the  curriculum  with  integrity.... 
Prior  to  Casey,  Parks  wasn't  invited  to  the  table." 

—Christopher  Waller 


purchased  matching  maroon  blazers  for 
faculty  and  staff  to  honor  their  first  year  of 
AYP  success.  The  foundation  also  purchased 
planner  notebooks  for  all  students  and  sup- 
ported professional  development  and  training 
opportunities  for  school  staff. 

Communities  In  Schools,  which  is  a 
component  of  the  Project  GRAD  reform 
model,  provides  wrap-around  services  in  die 
schools  to  help  students,  address  factors  that 
could  interfere  with  their  academic  achieve- 
ment, including  counseling,  small  group  work 
with  at-risk  students,  and  in-kind  resources 
such  as  dental  check  ups  and  eye  exams. 
They  also  reach  out  to  parents  and  caregivers 
to  make  them  feel  more  comfortable  in  the 
school,  helping  to  organize  a  Massage  for 
Moms  night  and  a  Dinner  with  Dad  night. 

Superintendent  Hall  believes  that  part- 
nerships and  supports  for  students  are  a 
critical  component  of  achieving  success  in 
low-income  schools.  "The  impact  of  extreme 
poverty  should  not  be  ignored,"  Hall  explains. 
"The  supports  play  a  big  role,  That  is  why 
Project  GRAD  has  Communities  in  Schools. 
That  is  why  Hands  On  Atlanta  provides 
tutors  and  why  Casey  provides  supports  to 
mitigate  against  other  issues , . , ,  Most  of  the 
schools  that  are  doing  well  with  poor  children 
are  schools  that  have  strong  partnerships. 
Those  are  real  contributing  factors." 

"When  you  have  support,"  Waller  believes, 
"you  don't  feel  like  you  are  in  it  by  yourself. 
So  many  times,  Parks  felt  like  it  had  been  in 
it  by  itself,"  ■ 


Integrating  what  is  taught 
in  elementary,  middle 
and  high  schools 

The  Casey  Foundations  support  has  also 
helped  initiate  "Vertical  Alignment"  efforts 
to  link  the  curricula  between  the  elementary, 
middle  and  high  schools.  "After  talking  to  the 
principals  at  Parks,  Gideons  and  The  New 
.Schools  at  Carver,  I  was  struck  by  the  fact 
1.,  tthat  there  was  no  bridge  between  the  three 
stages,"  remembers  Kelly,  "There  was  a  dis- 
connect between  the  elementary  and  middle 
school  curricula  and  no  preparation  in  middle 
school  for  high  school." 

With  funding  support  from  Casey  and 
senior  leaders  from  APS,  the  Vertical  Align- 
ment steering  committee  began  meeting  in 
December  2005.  The  goal  of  the  group  was 
to  develop  a  rigorous  middle  school  curricu- 
lum at  Parks  that  aligns  with  the  academies 
of  The  New  Schools  at  Carver  and  better 
prepares  students  upon  graduation  to  be  suc- 
cessful in  high  school. 

Work  groups — aligned  with  the  four 
academies  at  The  New  Schools  at  Carver  and' 
\:  comprised  of  staff  from  Carver,  Parks,  Proj- 
i   >ict  GRAD,  SRT  2  and  APS— met  regularly  in 
2006,  collecting  data  on  current  conditions 
and  identifying  high-performing  teachers, 
training  needs  and  achievement  gaps  (be- 
tween Parks  students  and  The  New  Schools' 
requirements). 

Funding  from  the  Georgia  Department  of 
Human  Resources  enabled  Parks  to  launch  a 
Summer  Youth  Program  in  2006  to  prepare 
incoming  sixth  graders  for  the  transition  to 


47 


"The  impact  of  extreme  poverty  should  not  be  ignored.  The  supports  play  a  big  role. 
Most  of  the  schools  that  are  doing  well  with  poor  children  are  schools 
that  have  strong  partnerships." 

—Dr.  Beverly  L.  Hail 


middle  school  while  simultaneously  strength- 
ening students'  skills  and  knowledge.  Because 
of  the  success  of  the  summer  program,  DHR 
agreed  to  continue  the  funding  year-round, 
enabling  Parks  to  launch  its  After  School 
All  Stars  Program  in  the  fall  of  2006  and  to 
continue  the  summer  program  in  2007. 

The  Vertical  Alignment  work  at  Parks 
will  continue  as  the  model  expands  to  other 
APS  middle  schools.  "It  has  become  a  way 
of  working  for  Parks  and  that  work  will  con- 
tinue," explains  Hall.  "Now  we  are  beginning 
to  model  other  schools'  efforts  around  the 
Parks  initiative." 


Improving  the  School's  Physical 
and  Social  Environment 

Principal  Waller  understood  that  many  of 
the  students  attending  Parks  Middle  School 
might  not  have  a  warm  home  environment 
where  the  adults  in  their  lives  provided  love, 
support  and  structure.  To  ensure  that  Parks 
could  provide  them  with  a  safe  and  nurturing 
environment  during  the  school  hours,  Waller 
started  to  address  the  physical  and  social 
environment  as  soon  as  he  came  on  staff. 

He  asked  APS  to  paint  the  walls  and  put 
the  school  colors  and  mascot,  Mustangs, 


One  of 
Principal 
Waller's  first 
steps  was  to 
improve  the 
look  of  Parks 
Middle  School. 
This  included 
a  mural  at 
the  school's 
entrance  that 
highlighted 
the  school's 
colors  (red 
and  yellow) 
£  and  mascot, 
a  mustang. 
"We  wanted 
the  school  to 
have  a  warm 
feeling." 


"It  was  really  that  bad  when  I  first  came  here.  Now  the  students  won't  even  litter.  Now  it  is 
offensive  to  them,...  Lately,  if  someone  talks  out  of  turn,  I  will  pause,  and  the  students  will 
chastise  them,...  They  are  regulating  themselves." 

— Da  many  Lewis 


on  the  wall  of  the  front  entrance 
lobby.  He  encouraged  teachers 
to  post  examples  of  good  student 
work  on  bulletin  boards  in  the 
hallways.  He  purchased  pictures, 
park  benches  and  greenery  and 
placed  them  throughout  the  school 
building. 

"We  wanted  the  school  to  have 
a  warm  feeling  when  you  walk  in," 
explains  Waller,  "Regardless  of 
what  cold  situation  you  might  have 
come  from,  you  are  here  and  there 
is  a  warm  feeling  here." 


In  addition  to  improving  the 
physical  environment,  Waller 
quickly  tried  to  get  the  social  environment 
under  control  by  increasing  discipline.  This 
included  the  way  the  students  carried  them- 
selves in  the  school.  The  faculty  instituted 
"Operation  Pull  and  Tuck,"  requiring  all  stu- 
dents to  have  their  shirts  tucked  in  and  their 
pants  around  their  waist. 

"Discipline  had  been  an  issue  here,  but  . . . 
they  don't  walk  the  halls  anymore,"  explains 
Hunley.  "They  put  their  shirt  tails  in  their 
pants.  While  doing  that  seems  minor,  it  really 
changes  the  way  they  carry  themselves." 

Damany  Lewis,  who  began  teaching 
at  Parks  in  the  1999-2000  school  year, 
remembers  the  challenges  that  a  lack  of 
discipline  caused  early  in  his  career  at  Parks. 
He  remembers  students  urinating  in  trashcans 
before  tossing  them  into  a  classroom  and 
running  away.  He  remembers  how  there  was 


no  toilet  paper  in  the  bathrooms  because  the 
students  would  wet  it  and  throw  it  onto  the 
ceiling. 

"It  was  really  that  bad  when  I  first  came 
here,"  he  explains.  "Now  the  students  won't 
even  litter.  Now  it  is  offensive  to  them.... 
Lately,  if  someone  talks  out  of  turn,  I  will 
pause,  and  the  students  will  chastise  them. ... 
They  are  regulating  themselves."  ■ 

"The  school  environment  and  how  stu- 
dents feel  about  themselves  is  important," 
explains  Kweku  Forstall.  "If  they  see  other 
students  running  rampant  in  the  schools 
with  no  boundaries,  limits  and  respect  for 
the  teachers,  they  will  take  it  less  seriously, .. 
When  you  beautify  the  school  and  enhance 
the  environment,  it  supports  a  positive 
attitude  and  diminishes  distractions  to  aca- 
demics." 


49 


"The  schooi  environment  and  how  students  feel  about  themselves  is  important. 
If  they  see  other  students  running  rampant  in  the  schools  with  no  boundaries, 
limits  and  respect  for  the  teachers,  they  will  take  it  less  seriously." 

— Kweku  Forstall 


Moving  Forward 

Having  been  successful  in  achieving  Adequate 
Yearly  Progress  for  two  straight  years,  Parks 
Middle  School  is  no  longer  defined  as  a  Needs 
Improvement  school  under  No  ChildXeft 
Behind.  Instead,  it  is  defined  as  a  School  of 
Choice,  meaning  that  parents  with  children 
enrolled  at  struggling  schools  in  the  district 
can  elect  to  send  their  children  to  Parks. 

This  success  has  led  to  increased  student 
morale,  self-confidence  and  teacher  owner- 
ship and  commitment,  as  well  as  a  strong 
sense  of  pride  across  the  community.  Parks 
has  become  a  model  reform  school  for  the 
state  and  for  partner  agencies. 


The  school's  success  did,  however,  bring 
some  negative  financial  consequences.  Be- 
cause it  is  no  longer  a  Needs  Improvement 
school,  Parks  will  lose  a  significant  amount  of 
resources,  including: 

8    $124,000  from  its  supplemental  budget 

•  $450,000  in  supplemental  educational 
services 

•  $100,000  in  Title  I  funds 

•  $75,000  in  state  consultant/professional 
development  support 

•  Additional  materials,  supplies  and 
technology 


50 


"We  are  clearly  improving.  But  we  stil!  have  §  long  way  to  go.  We  are  attacking  those 
[challenges]  with  great  vigor  and  intentionality  with  system-wide  initiatives. 
The  key  lesson  here  is  that  it  takes  a  long  time  to  turn  around  a  school  system." 

—Dr.  Beverly  L.  Ha!! 


Continuing  to  increase  student  success 
while  losing  these  important  resources  will  be 
a  challenge,  but  Parks'  leadership  and  staff 
believe  they  are  prepared .  Waller  continues 
to  set  ambitious  goals  for  the  school  and  its 
students.  Not  satisfied  with  merely  achieving 
AYP  and  APS  system  targets,  Waller  is  chal- 
lenging his  faculty  and  students  to  help  the 
school  become  a  "90-90-90"  school,  meaning 
that  more  than  90%  of  students  meet  or  ex- 
ceed standards  in  Reading,  English/Language 
Arts  and  Mathematics. 

"Now  that  we  have  achieved  AYP  for  two 
years  in  a  row,"  explains  Waller,  'AYP  is  no 
longer  a  lofty  goal.  In  order  to  keep  our  orga- 
nization moving  forward,  we  have  to  continue 
to  increase  our  targets." 

They  will  be  supported  in  their  efforts  by 
an  array  of  new  programs  and  partners  that 
will  continue  to  support  student  learning 
in  the  future.  The  Parent-Teacher-Student 
Association  has  been  expanded  and  revived. 
New  educational  partners  are  working  with 
Parks  to  ensure  that  students  have  the 
supports  and  opportunities  they  need.  The 
Family  Literacy  Program  is  providing  parents 
and  other  area  adults  with  GED  and  literacy 
classes,  which  demonstrate  to  students  the 
importance  of  staying  focused  and  staying  in 
school. 

The  efforts  at  Parks  will  also  be  supported 
by  district-wide  reform  efforts  as  Hall  and 
her  team  work  to  transform  middle  and  high 
schools  and  to  improve  student  achievement 
and  learning  in  math  and  science. 


"There  is  still  work  to  be  done,"  explains 
Hall.  "We  are  clearly  improving.  But  we 
still  have  a  long  way  to  go  in  the  areas  of 
math  and  science  grades  K-12  and  in  high 
schools  overall.  But  we  are  attacking  those 
with  great  vigor  and  intentionality  with 
system-wide  initiatives.  The  key  lesson  here 
is  that  it  takes  a  long  time  to  turn  around  a 
school  system." 


"If  it  can  be  done  anywhere,  it  can  be  done 
right  here  at  Parks,"  said  Principa!  Waller, 
shown  with  a  Parks  student. 


51 


"When  I  can  stand  in  front  of  my  principals  and  read  the  list  of  highest-performing  schools  in  the 
district,  a  list  that  runs  the  gamut  from  schools  in  the  highest  income  areas  to 
schools  in  the  lowest  income  areas,  there  are  no  excuses." 

—Dr.  Beverly  L  Hall 


The  Diarist  Project 


This  is  one  of  a  series  of  publications 
about  the  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation's 
work  in  low-income  neighborhoods  put 
together  by  The  Diarist  Project,  The  project  is 
a  new  approach  the  foundation  is  using  to 
learn  from  its  efforts  to  strengthen 
families  and  transform  struggling 
neighborhoods. 

Diarists  work  to  capture 
strategies  and  insights 
of  the  people  who  are 
leading  the  neighborhood 
transformation  work. 


This  story  was  written  by 
Sarah  Torian,  the  Atlanta  Civic 
Site  diarist,  It  was  edited  by 
Tim  Saasta,  diarist  coordinator. 
Photos  ©2007  by  Stanley 
Leary.  Published  in  December 
2007. 


A  Parks  Middle  School  Student 


The  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation  works  to 
build  better  futures  for  disadvantaged 
children  and  their  families  in  the  United  States. 
Its  primary  mission  is  to  foster  public  policies, 
human  service  reforms  and  community 
supports  that  more  effectively  meet  the  needs 
of  today's  vulnerable  children  and  families. 

Atlanta  is  one  of  three  Casey  Foundation 
civic  sites,  which  are  cities  where  the 
foundation  has  "home-town"  ties.  Atlanta  is  the 
headquarters  of  UPS.  The  Casey  Foundation 
was  started  by  the  founder  of  UPSt  Jim  Casey, 
and  his  siblings.  (The  other  two  Civic  Sites  are 
Baltimore,  MD,  and  New  Haven,  CN.) 


The  Atlanta  Civic  Site  focuses  on  five 
:of  Atlanta's  oldest  neighborhoods,  all 
'located  just  south  of  downtown.  These 
neighborhoods — Adair  Park,  Mechanicsville, 
Peoplestown,  Pittsburgh  and 
,  Summerhill/Capitol  Homes — 

comprise  a  once-thriving 
African-American  community 

that  has  experienced  a 
,    great  deal  of  property 

disinvestment,  population  ' 
decrease  and  general 
economic  decline  over  the 
past  30  years. 

To  help  strengthen 
families  in  these 
neighborhoods,  the 
oundation  has  been  promoting 
neighborhood-scale  programs, 
policies  and  activities  that 
'contribute  to  strong,  family-supporting 
neighborhoods.  These  efforts  focus  on  education 
achievement,  family  economic  success  and 
neighborhood  transformation. 

For  more  information,  contact:  The  Atlanta 
Civic  Site,  477  Windsor  Street,  SW,  Atlanta,  GA 
30312;  mvw.atlantacivksite.org;  404-222-3660. 


For  more  information  about  ^  j_ 
The  Diarist  Project  contact  rim  Saasta  a*  - 
Tim@ChariTyChoices,corn  -       .    >  ] 
Diansirpubhcations  are  avadable  at  [ 
www.DiarislProject.org.  *• 


52 


VENETIAN  HILLS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1910  Venetian  Drive,  SW  Principal:  Clarietta  Davis  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30311  Testing  Coordinator:  Milagros  Moner 

I.        INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Venetian  Hills  Elementary  in  2004,  2005,  2006,  2007, 
2008,  and  2009.  Five  teachers  and  the  testing  coordinator  at  Venetian  Hills  confessed  to  erasing 
answers.  Cheating  at  Venetian  Hills  is  evidenced  by  the  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms, 
confessions,  witness  testimony,  and  Principal  Clarietta  Davis'  refusal  to  answer  our  questions 
about  cheating. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

75.4 

1.5 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

52 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

19(18) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

12.8 

3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

24.5 

3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.8 

3 

53 


III.       SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Narrative 

The  following  teachers  altered  test  documents  at  Venetian  Hills  Elementary  School: 
Jacquelyn  Parks,  Melba  Smith,  Alma  Keen,  Angela  Bennett,  Tyrone  Hankerson,  Hardy  Scott, 
and  Milagros  Moner.  A  group  of  teachers  got  together  in  Testing  Coordinator  Milagros  Moner's 
office  in  the  afternoons.  The  teachers  met  in  that  office,  locked  the  door,  and  erased  wrong 
answers,  filling  in  right  answers.  Principal  Davis  had  the  teachers  raise  Level  1  (not  meeting 
expectations)  students  up  to  Level  2  (meeting  expectations)  and  raise  Level  2  students  up  to 
Level  3  (exceeding  expectations).  Some  teachers  changed  the  tests  in  the  morning  when  Moner 
handed  them  out,  while  others  changed  the  answer  sheets  in  their  classroom  after  the  test.  The 
trusted  "chosen  ones"  changed  the  tests  in  the  afternoon. 

Principal  Davis  altered  answer  sheets  as  well.  She  only  erased  in  the  presence  of 
Milagros  Moner.  Principal  Davis  erased  answer  sheets  in  her  office  wearing  gloves  so  that  she 
did  not  leave  fingerprints  on  the  test  documents. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Jacquelyn  Parks  (Teacher) 

Jacquelyn  Parks  taught  third  grade  at  Venetian  Hills  and  confessed  to  cheating  in  2004, 
2005,  2006,  2007,  2008,  and  2009.  Testing  Coordinator  Milagros  Moner  had  a  special  group  of 
people — "the  chosen  ones."  These  teachers  were  either  part  of  the  leadership  team  or  were 
"veteran"  Venetian  Hills  teachers.  Moner  did  not  ask  new  teachers  to  cheat. 

The  group  got  together  in  Moner's  office  each  afternoon  during  the  testing  period.  The 
"chosen  ones"  were  Melba  Smith,  Alma  Keen,  Angela  Bennett,  Tyrone  Hankerson,  Hardy  Scott, 
Jaquelyn  Parks,  and  Milagros  Moner.  They  met  in  the  windowless  office  and  locked  the  door. 
They  took  the  test  themselves  and  changed  the  answer  sheets  when  the  student's  answer  was 
wrong.  They  would  change  the  tests  of  only  the  grade  they  taught,  but  not  just  their  own 
students.  Some  teachers  changed  the  tests  each  morning  in  their  classrooms.  The  "chosen  ones" 
would  change  the  tests  in  the  afternoons  and  during  the  makeup  testing  days.  Parks  believes  that 
the  teachers  that  were  not  directly  involved  knew  what  was  going  on.  There  were  other  teachers 
changing  test  answers  in  their  own  classrooms. 

Moner  told  the  teachers  that  Principal  Davis's  instructions  were  to  pull  Level  1  students 
up  to  Level  2  and  pull  Level  2  students  up  to  Level  3.  When  one  of  the  group  remarked,  "Why 
isn't  Ms.  Davis  in  here  helping  us?"  Moner  responded,  "She  does  help,  she  puts  on  her  gloves." 

One  of  teacher  Nichole  Jones'  fifth  grade  students  noticed  that  the  answers  on  his  test 
from  the  day  before  were  not  as  he  indicated.  He  thought  his  answers  had  been  changed  and  told 
Ms.  Jones.  Jones  later  asked  Hankerson,  "What  is  going  on  around  here?" 

Parks  first  cheated  in  2004  but  believes  cheating  was  going  on  at  Venetian  Hills  prior  to 
that.   She  heard  cheating  has  been  going  on  since  Dr.  Hall  became  the  Superintendent.  The 


54 


culture  at  APS  is  that  if  you  are  not  a  "team  player,"  there  are  ways  that  APS  can  get  back  at  you. 
Parks  was  afraid  of  retaliation  if  she  did  not  go  along  with  cheating.  "APS  is  run  like  the  mob." 

2.  Tyrone  Hanker  son  (Teacher) 

Tyrone  Hankerson  taught  fourth  grade  and  admitted  to  his  involvement  with  cheating  in 
2009.  ILS  Milagros  Moner  told  Hankerson  that  they  needed  to  "clean  up"  the  tests.  He  knew 
that  "clean  up  the  tests"  meant  to  change  answers  from  wrong  to  right  on  the  CRCT.  Hankerson 
told  Moner  he  was  not  interested  and  Moner  responded  that  Principal  Davis  wanted  him  to  cheat. 
Moner  kept  asking  and  eventually  Hankerson  said  that  he  might  help.  He  went  to  Moner' s  office 
and  Jacquelyn  Parks,  Karen  Batiste,  Milagros  Moner,  and  Alma  Keen  were  there  with  the  tests. 
He  saw  them  change  answers  but  says  he  did  not  assist. 

Other  teachers  at  the  school  knew  what  was  going  on.  Leslie  Badger  called  him  once  and 
said  that  she  knew  they  were  changing  CRCT  answers  in  Moner' s  office. 

3.  Milagros  Moner  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Milagros  Moner  was  the  Instructional  Liaison  Specialist  in  2009  and  was  considered  the 
"Assistant  Principal"  by  many  teachers  and  staff  at  the  school.  She  was  also  the  testing 
coordinator  in  2009  and  says  she  cheated  in  2008  and  2009. 

In  2008,  during  the  week  of  testing,  Principal  Davis  asked  Moner  to  "check  the  tests  to 
see  how  the  students  [are]  doing."  Moner  looked  at  some  of  the  tests  and  told  Davis  that  the 
students  were  not  doing  well.  Davis  told  her  to  get  others  to  help  her  "look  over  the  tests."  She 
also  directed  Moner  to  bring  some  tests  to  her  office.  Moner  recruited  others  over  the  course  of  a 
day.  She  asked  Alma  Keen,  Tyrone  Hankerson,  Hardy  Scott,  Jacquelyn  Parks,  and  Melba  Smith 
because  those  teachers  had  been  at  Venetian  Hills  long  enough  to  understand  the  culture  of  "do 
not  tell."  Dr.  Angela  Bennett  was  in  the  room  but  Moner  does  not  recall  if  Bennett  erased 
answers.  Moner  put  tests  in  tote  bags  and  took  them  to  Principal  Davis'  office.  Davis  was 
concerned  about  leaving  fingerprints  so  she  put  on  gloves  to  erase  answers.  Moner  helped 
Principal  Davis  change  answers  in  her  office.  Just  the  two  of  them  were  present. 

Principal  Davis  pressured  the  teachers  to  get  CRCT  scores  up.  She  constantly  threatened 
teachers  with  PDPs  for  low  test  scores.  Everybody  knows  that  being  on  a  PDP  means  their  jobs 
are  in  jeopardy.  Principal  Davis  was  a  tyrant  and  the  culture  at  Venetian  Hills  was  basically 
"rule  by  fear."  Moner  said,  "Teachers  are  afraid  of  losing  their  jobs  and  teachers  compel 
themselves  to  do  whatever  they  need  to  do  to  make  sure  that  they  do  not  lose  their  jobs  because 
their  students  don't  meet  or  don't  exceed  on  the  CRCT.  Everybody  was  in  fear.  It  is  not  that  the 
teachers  are  bad  people  and  want  to  do  it,  it  is  that  they  are  scared." 

SRT  Executive  Director  Dr.  Davis-Williams  liked  Principal  Davis  because  she  won  lots 
of  awards  and  made  Dr.  Davis-Williams  look  good.  Furthermore,  Dr.  Davis-Williams  had  a 
style  similar  to  Principal  Davis.  Neither  were  approachable.  Teachers  did  not  feel  they  could 
complain  about  their  principal  to  Dr.  Davis-Williams. 


55 


4.       Melba  Smith  (Teacher) 


Melba  Smith  taught  fourth  grade  in  2009  and  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  tests  in 
2008  and  2009.  In  2008,  Milagros  Moner  asked  Smith  if  she  could  stay  after  school  and  "look 
over  the  tests."  She  suspected  that  Moner  was  asking  her  to  stay  after  school  to  change  answers 
and  thought  someone  at  Venetian  Hills  was  cheating.  She  noticed  over  the  years  that  some 
students  could  not  read  at  their  grade  level  but  received  high  CRCT  scores. 

Principal  Davis  told  Moner  to  change  the  tests.  Smith  changed  answers  each  afternoon 
with  Tyrone  Hankerson,  Alma  Keen,  Jacquelyn  Parks,  and  Angela  Bennett.  Moner  stayed  in  her 
office  and  helped  the  others.  Hardy  Scott  was  changing  the  tests,  but  alone  in  his  classroom. 
Teachers  Karen  Batiste  and  Wendy  Howard  gave  their  students  their  answers  while 
administering  the  test  in  their  classrooms. 

Smith  told  students  to  review  a  question  when  she  saw  they  had  marked  an  incorrect 
answer.  Smith  cheated  because  if  the  teachers  did  not  have  good  test  scores,  the  principal 
"would  ride  [their]  back  until  [they]  left." 

5.  Hardy  Scott  (Teacher) 

Hardy  Scott  admitted  to  cheating  in  2009  and  in  several  years  prior.  At  the  end  of  the 
testing  day  he  would  get  his  tests  from  Moner  and  would  take  them  back  to  his  classroom,  shut 
the  door,  and  change  the  answers. 

6.  Dr.  Angela  Bennett  (Teacher) 

Angela  Bennett  confessed  to  being  in  the  room  with  the  tests  and  pretending  to  change 
answers  in  2009.  Moner  directed  her  to  help  change  answers.  Bennett  believed  she  had  to  agree 
to  change  answers.  She  did  not  want  to  do  it,  so  she  sat  in  the  room  and  pretended  to  erase 
answers.  She  said  that  Principal  Davis  knew  what  they  were  doing.  Hankerson,  Keen,  Moner, 
and  Parks  were  also  in  Moner' s  office  changing  answers. 

The  teachers  used  answer  keys  to  change  the  answers. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Dr.  Clarietta  Davis  (Principal) 

Principal  Davis  refused  to  answer  our  questions,  by  asserting  her  Fifth  Amendment  right 
not  to  incriminate  herself.  A  list  of  the  questions  she  refused  to  answer  is  included  as 
Attachment  A. 

We  monitored  a  conversation  between  a  school  official  and  Principal  Davis.  Tn  this 
conversation  Davis  is  told  that  the  Governor's  investigator  knew  what  happened  at  Venetian 
Hills.  Davis  did  not  deny  that  she  cheated;  instead,  she  acted  surprised  that  anyone  knew  what 
happened.  Principal  Davis  said  that  they  were  talking  about  too  much  and  concluded  the 
conversation. 


56 


In  a  meeting,  one  of  the  "chosen  ones"  told  Davis  that  the  Governor's  investigator 
"knows  everything."  She  specifically  mentioned  that  Hardy  Scott  took  tests  home:  "I  don't 
know  how  he  [Governor's  investigator]  knew  that  ...  It's  like  he  [Governor's  investigator]  was 
in  the  room."  Davis  did  not  question  the  teacher's  statement;  instead,  she  asked,  "What  did  the 
employees  [at  Venetian  Hills]  say?" 

When  the  school  official  told  Principal  Davis  that  the  investigators  appeared  to  be  "more 
interested  in  principals  than  in  teachers,"  Davis  responded,  "That  must  be  why  they're  waiting  to 
interview  me  last."  The  official  told  Principal  Davis,  "I  am  thinking  about  telling  him  what 
happened  in  that  room  because  I  am  scared."  Davis  asked,  "So  you  gonna  call  the  others' 
[teachers  involved  in  changing  answers]  names?" 

The  official  continued  to  talk  about  how  scared  he/she  was  of  criminal  prosecution  when 
Principal  Davis  said,  "I  still  think  this  is  all  gonna  come  back  to  me."  The  official  said  to 
Principal  Davis  that  the  Governor's  investigator  talked  to  the  interim  principal  Mrs.  Robinson 
several  times.  Davis  responded,  "Mrs.  Robinson  doesn't  know  anything." 

2.        Karen  Batiste  (Teacher) 

Karen  Batiste  denied  cheating  but  said  that  she  knew  it  was  going  on. 

Batiste  heard  that  there  was  a  recording  of  Melba  Smith  giving  her  students  the  questions 
on  the  fifth  grade  writing  test.  Smith  told  her  students  they  were  questions  that  would  appear  on 
the  test  the  next  week. 

Principal  Davis  told  the  teachers  that  they  were  not  allowed  to  give  children  a  failing 
grade.  Batiste  said  Davis  is  the  "meanest  person  you've  ever  met."  It  is  not  fun  being  a  teacher 
because  it  is  all  about  the  test.  "Everything  is  about  the  test."  "I  am  glad  [Governor  Perdue' s] 
not  letting  go  though  ....  I'm  glad  he's  not  letting  go,  because  if  [cheating]  doesn't  stop  now  it's 
going  to  continue."  "The  school  system,  T  don't  think  they  want  to  get  to  the  bottom  of  this." 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Clarietta  Davis  cheated,  and  directed  others  to  cheat,  on  the 
CRCT  from  2004  to  2009.  Six  teachers  admitted  that  they  altered  test  documents,  or  were  in  the 
room  when  others  were  altering  test  documents,  and  that  Davis  directly,  or  indirectly,  ordered 
them  to  cheat.  Davis  erased  answers,  wearing  gloves,  in  her  office.  We  have  listened  to 
monitored  conversations  with  Principal  Davis.  She  does  not  deny  her  involvement.  Finally, 
Principal  Davis  refused  to  answer  our  questions,  asserting  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  not  to 
incriminate  herself. 

Milagros  Moner,  the  testing  coordinator,  cheated  on  the  CRCT  at  the  direction  of 
Principal  Davis.  She  recruited  trusted  and  veteran  teachers  to  assist.  Jacquelyn  Parks,  Tyrone 
Hankerson,  Melba  Smith,  Hardy  Scott,  Alma  Keen,  and  Angela  Bennett  cheated  on  the  2009 
CRCT,  and  in  other  years.  They  changed  tests  for  the  entire  school.  Most  teachers  were  aware 
of  the  cheating. 


57 


We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Davis  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing 
activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2004,  2005, 
2006,  2007,  2008  and  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other 
evidence  secured  in  this  investigation,  that  Principal  Davis  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2004, 
2005,  2006,  2007,  2008  and  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


58 


CLARIETTA  DAVIS 

You  have  information  concerning  cheating  at  your  school  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  don't 
you? 

You  are  refusing  to  provide  these  investigators  with  that  information,  aren't  you? 

By  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  you  denied  straggling  students  the  help  they  needed  to 
succeed? 

You  directed  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  coordinated  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  your  school,  didn't  you? 

You  facilitated  the  ability  of  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  right? 

You  knew  that  school  employees  were  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  provided  school  employees  with  access  to  the  student's  CRCT  tests  so  that  these 
school  employees  could  cheat? 

You  knew  that  teachers  were  providing  student's  with  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't 
you? 

You  changed  student's  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  didn't  you? 

You  did  not  report  violations  of  testing  protocol  as  you  were  required  to  do  by  Georgia 
law,  did  you? 

In  2009,  you  were  entrusted  with  ensuring  that  school  employees  act  ethically? 
Cheating  is  unethical  isn't  it? 

You  instructed  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  pressured  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  accepted  bonus  money  from  APS  based  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

Your  school  accepted  federal  money  based  in  part  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  State  of  Georgia  an  accurate  assessment  of  your 
student's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  parents  of  your  students  an  accurate  assessment 
of  their  children's  academic  performance,  didn't  you? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  denied  the  children  in  your  care  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  own  academic  performance. 


59 


GIDEONS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 

897  Welch  Street  Principal:  Armstead  Salters  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30310  Testing  Coordinator:  Sheridan  Rogers 


I.  INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Gideons  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years.  Sixty 
people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Twelve  people  confessed  to 
cheating.  Cheating  at  Gideons  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms, 
confessions,  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Armstead  Salters  confessed  to  knowing  of 
cheating  at  Gideons.  Testing  Coordinator  Sheridan  Rogers  confessed  to  cheating.  Both 
Principal  Salters  and  Testing  Coordinator  Rogers  instructed  witnesses  to  obstruct  our 
investigation  by  directing  them  not  to  tell  the  truth  in  interviews. 

II.  STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

88.4 

25.0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

61 

18 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

21(21) 

11(5) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

15.2 

4.9 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

53.2 

8.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.4 

3.0 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Since  2001,  Principal  Salters,  Testing  Coordinator  Sheridan  Rogers,  and  numerous 
teachers  participated  in  a  coordinated,  school-wide  cheating  scheme.  Principal  Salters  instructed 
certain  teachers  to  see  Rogers  to  change  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets.  Rogers  provided 
teachers  with  the  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets,  the  test  booklets  and  answer  key  transparencies 
so  the  students'  answers  could  be  changed.  Rogers  instructed  teachers  to  prepare  answer  keys  on 
transparencies  for  the  different  versions  of  the  CRCT.  Teachers  prepared  the  answer  keys  by 
talcing  the  tests  themselves  and  marking  correct  answers  on  transparency  sheets.  Teachers 
returned  the  completed  answer  keys  to  Rogers  who  distributed  the  answer  keys  and  the  students' 
CRCT  answer  sheets  to  other  teachers.  Teachers  also  prompted  their  students  to  change  answers 
during  the  administration  of  the  test. 

Veteran  teachers  understood  that  changing  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets  was  expected 
at  Gideons.  They  changed  the  answer  sheets  of  the  students  taught  by  newer  teachers  until  the 
new  teacher  was  trusted  to  be  brought  into  the  cheating  scheme.  When  they  decided  a  new 
teacher  was  ready,  veteran  teachers  instructed  them  to  "go  see  Ms.  Rogers  and  check  your  tests." 


60 


Not  all  teachers,  veteran  or  new,  participated  in  the  cheating,  but  the  scheme  was  an  open  secret 
at  Gideons  Elementary. 

One  group  of  teachers  took  their  students'  answer  sheets  to  the  home  of  a  teacher  and 
held  a  "changing  party"  over  the  weekend  in  Douglas  County,  Georgia.  Other  teachers  changed 
their  students'  answer  sheets  after  hours  at  school  during  the  testing  window. 

Principal  Salters  obstructed  this  investigation  when  he  instructed  teachers  not  to 
cooperate.  He  said  to  them,  "If  anyone  asks  you  anything  about  this  just  tell  them  you  don't 
know.  You  did  not.  Stick  with  it."  Principal  Salters  also  told  teachers  to  "just  stick  to  the  story 
and  it  will  all  go  away."  Sheridan  Rogers  told  at  least  one  teacher  to  not  say  anything  to 
investigators  about  CRCT  cheating. 

B.        Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Oliver  Banks  (Teacher) 

Oliver  Banks  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  the  2008  and  2009  CRCT. 

Principal  Salters  instructed  Banks  and  other  teachers  to  change  answers  on  the  2008  and 
2009  CRCT.  Banks  erased  and  changed  answers  in  2008  at  Gideons  with  Bemadine  Macon, 
Daisey  Bowser,  and  Veronica  Jordan.  He  also  erased  and  changed  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  at 
Bernadine  Macon's  home  in  Douglas  County,  Georgia  over  a  weekend  along  with  Macon, 
Bowser,  Jordan,  and  Michael  Walker. 

Principal  Salters  saw  Bowser,  Jordan,  Macon,  and  Banks  erasing  and  changing  answers 
at  Gideons.  Principal  Salters  asked  Banks,  "How  is  everything  going?"  He  was  referring  to 
erasing  and  changing  answers. 

Principal  Salters  told  Banks,  Jordan,  Macon,  and  Bowser,  "If  anyone  asks  you  anything 
about  this  just  tell  them  you  don't  know.  You  did  not.  Stick  with  it."  He  also  said,  "just  stick  to 
the  story  and  it  will  all  go  away."  Banks  told  Salters  that  he  could  not  lie  to  the  GBI.  Salters 
replied,  "They  don't  know  anything  about  this.  They  are  searchin'.  Stick  to  the  fact  that  y'all 
did  not  make  any  changes." 

2.  Daisey  Bowser  (Teacher) 

Daisey  Bowser  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Sheridan  Rogers  gave 
Bowser  CRCT  test  booklets,  students'  answer  sheets  and  transparency  answer  keys.  Using  the 
materials  provided  by  Rogers,  Bowser  erased  and  changed  2009  CRCT  answer  sheets  at 
Macon's  house  with  Jordan,  Walker,  and  Banks. 

3.  Veronica  Jordan  (Teacher) 

Veronica  Jordan  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  the  2008  and  2009  CRCT. 

Jordan  testified  that  Principal  Salters  instructed  teachers  to  report  to  Rogers  to  "check 
their  tests,"  which  was  code  for  erasing  answers.  When  teachers  reported  to  Rogers,  she  gave 


61 


teachers  CRCT  answer  sheets  and  answer  keys  to  change  the  answers.  Rogers  instructed  Jordan 
to  prepare  an  "answer  key"  to  one  version  of  the  CRCT  by  marking  the  correct  answers  on  a 
blank  transparency. 

Jordan  erased  and  changed  CRCT  answers  in  Rogers'  office  in  full  view  of  Rogers.  She 
also  admitted  to  changing  CRCT  answers  at  Macon's  house  along  with  Macon,  Banks,  and 
Walker. 

Jordan  testified  that  fourth  grade  teachers  at  Gideons  also  changed  answers  but  could  not 
provide  details.  Sheridan  Rogers  instructed  Jordan  not  to  say  anything  to  investigators  about 
CRCT  cheating. 

4.  Bernadine  Macon  (Teacher) 

Beraadine  Macon  admitted  to  changing  CRCT  answers  at  her  home  in  Douglas  County, 
Georgia  and  at  the  school. 

Walker,  Bowser,  Banks,  and  Jordan  all  went  to  Macon's  home  over  a  weekend  and 
changed  CRCT  answers  using  answer  sheet  transparencies  provided  by  Rogers.  Macon  also 
testified  that  Principal  Salters  called  during  this  investigation  to  tell  her  to  "hang  in  there"  and 
that  she  would  be  "ok  because  she  didn't  do  anything." 

5.  Michael  Walker  (Paraprofessional) 

Michael  Walker  admitted  to  erasing  and  changing  CRCT  answers  in  2009.  Walker 
admitted  to  driving  Banks  to  Macon's  house  to  change  CRCT  answers  with  Jordan,  Macon,  and 
Bowser. 

6.  Treme Ha  Donaldson  (Teacher) 

Tremelia  Donaldson  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal  Salters  told  her, 
"Do  what  you  need  to  do.  The  kids  have  to  pass."  Donaldson  also  testified  that  teachers  at 
Gideons  have  erased  and  changed  answers  since  2001.  She  learned  of  the  cheating  conspiracy 
when  Denethia  Weddington-Ward  told  Donaldson  "go  see  Rogers  to  check  your  tests."  This  was 
code  for  erasing  and  changing  answers.  When  she  "went  to  see"  Rogers,  Rogers  gave  her  CRCT 
test  booklets,  students'  answer  sheets,  and  nineteen  transparency  answer  keys,  one  for  each  test 
form.  The  transparencies  consisted  of  clear  sheets  of  plastic  normally  used  for  overhead 
projectors,  with  the  correct  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT  written  on  them  in  marker.  Donaldson 
used  these  materials  provided  by  Rogers  to  erase  and  change  students'  answer  sheets  in  her 
classroom  at  Gideons  after  school. 

7.  Denethia  Weddington-Ward  (Teacher) 

Denethia  Weddington-Ward  admitted  to  erasing  and  changing  students'  answer  sheets, 
both  those  of  her  students  and  those  of  other  teachers. 

Weddington-Ward  told  LaTonya  Washington  to  "go  get  her  tests  and  answer  sheets" 
from  Rogers  to  erase  and  change  answer  sheets.  She  believes  Washington  did  so.  Rogers  gave 


62 


Weddington-Ward  both  her  own  and  other  teachers'  students'  test  booklets,  answer  sheets,  and 
transparencies  with  the  correct  answers  to  use  in  erasing  and  changing  answer  sheets. 

We  monitored  a  telephone  call  between  Weddington-Ward  and  Rogers  where  Rogers 
admitted  to  giving  answer  sheets  to  teachers,  but  denied  knowing  what  the  teachers  did  with 
them.  When  asked  about  the  current  location  of  the  answer  sheet  transparencies  and  whether  she 
destroyed  them,  Rogers  said  she  "got  rid  of  them,"  and  that  she  "could  legitimize  them  as 
teaching  aides." 

8.  Cheryl  Hunt  (Teacher) 

Cheryl  Hunt  admitted  to  erasing  and  changing  answers  in  Rogers'  office  and  in  her  own 
classroom  in  2009,  and  in  other  years.  Rogers  gave  Hunt  test  booklets  and  students'  answer 
sheets,  as  well  as  transparencies  with  answers  to  the  CRCT.  Hunt  stated  that  Donaldson, 
Weddington-Ward,  Washington  and  Neely  changed  CRCT  answers. 

9.  Irene  Ellerbe  (Teacher) 

Irene  Ellerbe  admitted  to  prompting  students  to  change  their  answers  during  the  CRCT. 
Irene  Ellerbe  asked  students  "are  you  sure  this  is  what  you  want  to  put  down?"  multiple  times. 
In  response  to  her  prompting,  students  erased  their  answers  and  changed  them  to  the  correct 
answer. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Sheridan  Rogers  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Rogers  admitted  to  giving  test  booklets  and  answer  sheets  to  teachers  after  Principal 
Salters  instructed  her  to  do  so.  She  denied  any  knowledge  of  answer  key  transparencies  but 
stated  that  blank  transparencies  were  used  as  teaching  aides.  Multiple  teachers  testified  that  they 
received  answer  keys  from  Rogers. 

On  February  22,  2011,  we  monitored  a  phone  call  between  Rogers  and  Denethia 
Weddington-Ward.  During  this  call,  Weddington-Ward  brought  up  the  transparencies  by  asking 
Rogers  what  she  did  with  them  and  informing  Rogers  that  investigators  were  aware  of  the 
transparencies.  Rogers  responded  by  saying  that  she  got  rid  of  the  transparencies  and  that  she 
could  "[legitimize  those  as  teaching  aides." 

2.  Camille  Neely  (Teacher) 

Camille  Neely  stated  that  Rogers  gave  her  answer  sheet  transparencies,  but  she  did  not 
use  them  because  her  students  did  well  on  the  CRCT  in  2009.  All  of  Neely's  classes  were 
flagged  with  standard  deviations  from  the  state-wide  norms  being  9.6  for  reading,  5.7  for 
language  arts  and  3.4  for  math.  She  was  unable  to  explain  why  her  students  would  have  been  so 
far  above  the  state-wide  norms  for  wrong-to-right  erasures. 


63 


3.       Armstead  Salter s  (Principal) 


Principal  Salters  admitted  to  knowing  that  Rogers  and  teachers  at  Gideons  cheated  on  the 
CRCT.  He  did  nothing  to  stop  it.  He  denied  directing  Sheridan  Rogers,  or  any  teacher,  to  cheat. 
He  also  denied  instructing  his  teachers  not  to  cooperate  with  this  investigation.  Salters 
acknowledged  that  Gideons  was  his  school  and  that  he  was  responsible  for  the  cheating  that  went 
on  there.  He  denied  his  involvement  in  cheating,  except  to  the  extent  he  knew  it  was  occurring. 

Principal  Salters  testified  that  he  never  told  SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts  or 
Dr.  Beverly  Hall  that  teachers  at  Gideons  cheated.  Principal  Salters  testified  that  although  he 
met  with  Dr.  Hall  after  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  Report  was  issued,  Hall  never  asked  him  if 
teachers  at  Gideons  cheated. 

Principal  Salters  met  with  Pitts  in  December  of  2008  to  tell  him  that  he  intended  to  retire. 
SRT-3  Executive  Director  Pitts  told  him  that  "a  scandal  was  brewing,"  and  requested  he  put  off 
his  retirement  until  after  the  scandal.  Principal  Salters  agreed. 

4.        LaTonya  Washington  (Teacher) 

LaTonya  Washington  testified  that  she  received  answer  sheets  and  transparencies  from 
Sheridan  Rogers,  but  did  not  use  them  to  erase  students'  answers.  She  stated  that  her  students 
did  well  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  she  did  not  need  to  cheat.  None  of  Washington' s  classes  were 
flagged  by  GOSA  for  abnormally  high  wrong-to-right  erasures. 

D.       Testimony  of  Additional  Witnesses 

I.        Dr.  Beverly  Hall  (Superintendent) 

When  Dr.  Hall  met  with  Principal  Salters  after  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  Report  she 
asked  him  if  cheating  occurred  at  Gideons,  and  he  replied  "I  don't  know,"  instead  of  denying 
cheating  occurred.  When  we  interviewed  Dr.  Hall,  she  said  that  she  did  not  believe  teachers  in 
APS  cheated,  but  that  she  "sure  would  like  to  know  what  happened  at  Gideons." 

TV.      ANALYSTS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  a  school-wide  conspiracy  to  erase  and  change  students  CRCT  answer  sheets 
occurred  at  Gideons  in  2008,  2009,  and  other  years.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Salters  and 
Sheridan  Rogers  orchestrated  this  school-wide  effort  to  erase  and  change  students'  answer  sheets 
and  ordered  teachers  to  lie  to  the  GBI.  We  conclude  that  Irene  Ellerbe  cheated  on  the  2009 
CRCT  test.  We  conclude  that  third  grade  teachers  Tremelia  Donaldson,  Cheryl  Hunt,  Camille 
Neely,  and  Denethia  Weddington-Ward  erased  and  changed  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets  at  the 
school  in  2008  and  2009.  We  further  conclude  that  fifth  grade  teachers  Oliver  Banks,  Daisey 
Bowser,  Bernadine  Macon,  Veronica  Jordan  and  Michael  Walker  erased  and  changed  students' 
CRCT  answer  sheets  at  the  school  in  2008,  and  at  Macon's  house  in  Douglas  County  in  2009. 


64 


Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  the  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar 
statistical  data,  we  believe  that  the  teachers  in  other  grade  levels  also  cheated,  but  we  lack 
sufficient  evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

It  is  also  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  that  Principal 
Armstead  Salters  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or 
erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


65 


KENNEDY  MIDDLE  SCHOOL 


225  Griffin  St.  N W  Principal:  Dr.  Lucious  Brown  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  303 14-39 17  Testing  Coordinator:  Tanya  Green 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Kennedy  Middle  in  2009.  Fifty  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  One  person  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  2009 
CRCT.  Cheating  at  Kennedy  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a  confession 
and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Brown  answered  all  questions  asked  of  him  during  his  first 
interview,  but  then  refused  to  answer  our  questions  in  his  second  interview  by  asserting  his  Fifth 
Amendment  rights.  Principal  Brown  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

53.2 

6 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

42 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

22(13) 

4(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.8 

3.6 

Ehgh  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

25.8 

3.9 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3 

66 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


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III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Kennedy  Middle  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  53.2%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from 
53.2%  to  6%. 


67 


Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  four  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Kennedy  Middle  School. 

Third,  of  the  42  flagged  classrooms  at  Kennedy  29  (69%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  nine  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  occurred  without 
adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Kennedy  Middle  School. 

Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  85.1%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  53.2%  of  total 
classrooms  in  the  school. 

Fifth,  Principal  Lucious  Brown  directed  and  participated  in  an  organized  scheme  to  erase 
and  change  students'  test  answer  documents.  When  he  was  subpoenaed  by  us,  he  refused  to 
answer  questions  about  his  knowledge  of,  or  participation  in,  cheating  and  asserted  his  Fifth 
Amendment  rights. 

Finally,  Principal  Brown  intimidated  witnesses  in  this  investigation  by  requiring  the 
teachers  and  staff  at  Kennedy  Middle  School  to  meet  with  his  personal  criminal  defense  attorney 
at  school,  during  school  hours. 

B.  Narrative 

In  2009,  Principal  Lucious  Brown,  School  Improvement  Specialist  Dr.  Tameka  Goodson, 
Secretary  Carol  Dennis,  and  Barbara  McDaniel  participated  in  a  coordinated  cheating  scheme. 
These  women  moved  from  West  Fulton  with  Principal  Brown  when  he  became  Principal  at 
Kennedy  in  2007.  Brown  directed  these  individuals  to  check  the  students'  tests  and  "make  them 
right"  so  that  the  school  could  meet  targets.  Although  no  evidence  exists  that  Principal  Brown 
personally  erased  answers,  he  was  present  when  Dennis,  Goodson  and  McDaniel  carried  out  his 
directive.  Moreover,  one  witness  observed  Principal  Brown  carrying  tests  from  the  vault  to  the 
conference  room  after  the  test  period  ended  for  the  day.  After  testing  ended,  Principal  Brown, 
Dennis,  Goodson  and  Barbara  McDaniel  carried  the  tests  from  the  "vault"  into  the  conference 
room  or  Principal  Brown's  office  and  changed  student  answers  on  the  test.  Only  Principal 
Brown  and  his  secretary,  Carol  Dennis,  had  keys  to  the  vault  where  the  tests  were  stored. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Barbara  McDaniel  (Teacher) 

Following  the  first  or  second  day  of  the  administration  of  the  CRCT  in  2009,  Carol 
Dennis,  Principal  Brown's  secretary,  summoned  Barbara  McDaniel  and  Dr.  Tameka  Goodson  to 
the  conference  room  where  Dr.  Brown  and  Ms.  Dennis  were  located.  Dennis  asked  McDaniel 
and  Goodson  to  stay  until  4:00  or  5:00  and  help  change  CRCT  answer  sheets.  Dennis  explained 
that  a  certain  percentage  of  the  tests  needed  to  be  "checked"  and  made  right.  McDaniel  told 
them  she  would  have  to  think  about  it  because  she  knew  what  they  were  doing  was  wrong. 


68 


McDaniel  described  Principal  Brown  as  "like  a  son  to  her."  She  wanted  to  talk  with  her 
husband  about  what  she  was  asked  to  do,  but  knew  he  would  tell  her  not  to  cheat.  She  wanted  to 
help  Principal  Brown.  She  did  not  ask  her  husband. 

On  the  third  or  fourth  day  of  testing,  after  the  students  left  school,  Dennis,  Goodson  and 
McDaniel  stayed  at  school  until  approximately  11:00  p.m.  to  finish  changing  answers.  Principal 
Brown  was  in  the  room  while  the  others  changed  answers.  McDaniel  was  ashamed  of  what  they 
had  done. 

2.  Michelle  Hayes  (Teacher) 

Michelle  Hayes  stated  that  she  had  no  direct  knowledge  of  cheating.  However,  she  noted 
that  students  who  could  not  read  would  often  meet  or  exceed  expectations  on  the  reading  portion 
of  the  CRCT.  Hayes  confronted  Principal  Brown  about  this  discrepancy  in  June  2009,  but  he  did 
not  give  her  any  explanation.  In  the  fall  of  2009,  Principal  Brown  suddenly  transferred  Hayes  to 
Brown  Middle  School. 

3.  Ti  ffany  Edwards  (Teacher) 

Tiffany  Edwards  heard  there  was  cheating  at  Kennedy  and  that  Principal  Brown  and  his 
friends  were  involved.  Teachers  talked  about  the  unrealistic  jump  in  math  scores.  Edwards 
heard  students  talking  about  teachers  giving  answers.  She  does  not  recall  the  students'  names. 
Some  teachers  complained  that  their  answer  sheets  were  returned  to  them  in  a  different  order 
than  the  teacher  left  them  the  day  before. 

4.  Michelle  Bowman  (Teacher) 

Principal  Brown  ordered  teachers  to  meet  with  his  personal  criminal  defense  attorney  in 
his  office  at  the  school  during  school  hours. 

5.  France  sea  Favors  (O  ffice  Clerk) 

Francesca  Favors  stated  that  during  the  2009  CRCT,  Tanya  Green,  the  Testing 
Coordinator,  returned  tests  to  the  vault  and  locked  the  door.  However,  Favors  observed  Dennis, 
Principal  Brown,  Dr.  Goodson  and  Morris  going  in  and  out  of  the  vault  during  the  day.  Only 
Principal  Brown  and  Dennis  kept  a  key  to  the  locked  room. 

6.  Tanya  Green  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Tanya  Green  denied  cheating.  She  did  not  have  a  key  to  the  vault  where  tests  were 
stored.  Only  Principal  Brown  and  Dennis  kept  that  key. 

7.  Matthew  Hall  (Teacher) 

Matthew  Hall  reported  that  during  test  week,  Principal  Brown  ordered  everyone  to  leave 
the  school  by  4:00  p.m.  and  cancelled  after-school  activities. 


69 


8.       Margo  Morris  (Attendance  Clerk) 


Margo  Morris  stated  that  during  the  2009  CRCT,  Dennis  pulled  her  into  her  office  and 
asked  Morris  to  sharpen  the  pencils.  At  that  time,  Morris  saw  Principal  Brown,  Barbara 
McDaniel,  Dr.  Goodson  and  Dennis  in  the  conference  room.  Morris  heard  Ms.  Favors  say  "y'all 
think  I'm  stupid.  I  know  y'all  are  back  there  with  those  tests." 

9.  Rosalin  Triple  tt  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  Triplett's  students  raised  their  hands  and  reported  that  their 
answers  from  the  previous  day  had  been  changed.  She  reported  this  to  Tanya  Green  who  told 
Principal  Brown.  Finley,  another  teacher,  told  Triplett  that  everything  in  her  test  containers  was 
in  disarray  when  she  got  it  back.  Triplett  witnessed  a  confrontation  between  Principal  Brown 
and  teacher  Michelle  Hayes.  Hayes  asked  Principal  Brown  how  some  of  her  students  could  have 
passed  the  CRCT.  Principal  Brown  said  "I'm  not  going  to  talk  about  it."  Triplett  believes 
Principal  Brown  subsequently  fired  Hayes.  Triplett  reported  that  while  the  GBI  was  at  the 
school,  Margo  Morris  was  moved  from  the  front  office  and  into  a  hallway.  Triplett  overheard  a 
group  of  students  say  that  their  teacher,  Willis,  helped  them  on  the  test. 

10.  Robin  Banks  (Teacher) 

During  the  2008  CRCT,  Ms.  Robin  Banks  went  to  pick  up  her  tests  from  the  testing 
coordinator  one  morning  toward  the  middle  of  the  test  week.  She  noticed  that  one  of  her  test 
answer  booklets  was  missing,  so  she  went  to  report  it  to  Dr.  Brown.  When  she  got  back  to  the 
room  where  the  tests  were  stored,  the  book  was  sitting  beside  the  box.  Dr.  Brown  wanted  her  to 
believe  it  was  just  an  oversight  on  her  part. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

/.        Dr.  Lucious  Brown  (Principal) 

When  confronted  with  evidence  of  his  involvement  in  changing  answers,  Principal 
Lucious  Brown  denied  cheating.  When  he  was  subpoenaed  for  an  additional  interview,  he 
refused  to  answer  questions  about  his  participation  in,  or  knowledge  of,  cheating  and  asserted  his 
Fifth  Amendment  right  not  to  incriminate  himself. 

2.  Carol  Dennis  (Secretary) 

Carol  Dennis  denied  participating  in,  or  having  any  knowledge  of,  cheating. 

3.  Dr.  Tameka  Goodson  (Instructional  Coach) 

Dr.  Tameka  Goodson  denied  any  participation  in  or  knowledge  of  cheating.  The  GBT 
confronted  Ms.  Goodson  with  evidence  of  her  involvement  in  cheating  and  advised  her  that  lying 
to  a  law  enforcement  agent  was  a  felony,  but  if  she  told  the  truth  she  would  be  offered  immunity. 
Goodson  said  she  wanted  to  "make  a  statement,"  but  wanted  an  attorney  present.  Goodson  was 
given  that  opportunity,  but  failed  to  return  with  her  attorney.  The  Special  Investigators 
ultimately  served  Ms.  Goodson  with  another  subpoena.  Despite  her  previous  representation  that 


70 


she  would  like  to  give  a  statement  to  the  GBI,  during  her  interview  with  the  Special 
Investigators,  with  her  attorney  present,  Ms.  Goodson  denied  any  involvement  in  or  knowledge 
of  cheating. 

E.        Other  Evidence 

•  In  2006-2007,  the  State  placed  Kennedy  Middle  on  a  "Needs 
Improvement"  list  for  repeated  failure  to  meet  AYP. 

•  In  2007-2008,  Principal  Lucious  Brown's  first  year  at  Kennedy,  math 
scores  jumped  in  every  grade  and  Kennedy  not  only  made  AYP,  but  met 
83%  of  its  targets. 

•  In  2008-2009,  the  state  removed  Kennedy  from  the  Needs  Improvement 
list. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Lucious  Brown,  Dr.  Tameka  Goodson,  Carol  Dennis  and 
Barbara  McDaniel  conspired  to  erase  and  change  student  answer  sheets  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Brown  failed  in  his  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing 
activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2009  CRCT. 
It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation, 
that  Principal  Brown  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting 
or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


71 


F.L.  STANTON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1625  Martin  Luther  King  Jr.  Drive  Principal:  Dr.  Mario  Barber  SRL-4  Executive  Director:  LamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314-2207  Lesting  Coordinator:  Arthurline  Laylor 

I.        INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  in  2009.  Twenty-two  people 
were  interviewed  at  F.L.  Stanton,  some  more  than  once.  One  teacher  confessed  to  cheating. 
Cheating  at  F.L.  Stanton  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a  confession, 
witness  testimony,  and  Principal  Mario  Barber's  refusal  to  answer  questions  about  cheating. 
Principal  Barber  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

83.3 

7.1 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

35 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

13(12) 

3(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

12.1 

5.2 

Fhgh  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

24.4 

7.4 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3 

3.4 

72 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


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>  7 1  <l  1  III <l  1  II 

Test 

Df*vi  it  f~i  on 

FOSTER 

1  RD 

6.286587288 

HILL 

1  RD 

7.500066144 

HILL 

1  LA 

10.44392629 

HILL 

1  MA 

8.66682616 

DURR 

2  RD 

5.41699529 

DURR 

2  LA 

5.552714374 

DURR 

2  MA 

4.387625289 

GOSHA 

2  LA 

3.047853543 

GOSHA 

2  MA 

7.146005432 

MOODY 

2  LA 

8.730602629 

MOODY 

2  MA 

6.292689078 

BULLOCK 

3  RD 

5.986352294 

BULLOCK 

3  LA 

7.839884187 

BULLOCK 

3  MA 

9.484205905 

WAGNER 

3  RD 

14.13076082 

WAGNER 

3  LA 

13.30066687 

WAGNER 

3  MA 

14.3635691 

WILSON 

3  RD 

9.837047618 

WILSON 

3  LA 

9.282695136 

WILSON 

3  MA 

4.869839776 

CONLEY 

4  RD 

20.87167223 

CONLEY 

4  LA 

16.54364876 

CONLEY 

4  MA 

14.10174659 

CURLEY 

4  RD 

10.53598496 

CURLEY 

4  LA 

13.361446 

CURLEY 

4  MA 

13.00004071 

GAUSE 

4  RD 

23.58719127 

GAUSE 

4  LA 

14.54204378 

GAUSE 

4  MA 

18.98069243 

EDWARDS 

5  RD 

15.71063404 

EDWARDS 

5  LA 

11.36015746 

EDWARDS 

5  MA 

20.94304662 

MCRAE  JONES 

5  RD 

20.73790807 

MCRAE  JONES 

5  LA 

24.41721866 

MCRAE  JONES 

5  MA 

20.77030433 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  in  a  way  that  ensured  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  83.3%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  three  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
no  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
sharply,  from  83.3%  to  7.1%. 

Fourth,  of  the  35  flagged  classrooms  at  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School,  32  (91%  of  the 
total)  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  19  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.    At  ten  standard 


73 


deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School. 

Fifth,  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis,  which  compares 
the  number  of  WTR  erasures  to  the  total  erasures  for  each  student  by  subject.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  F.L.  Stanton,  95.3%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms,  which  account  for 
only  83.3%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

B.  Narrative 

In  2009,  Principal  Mario  Barber  and  Theresa  Bell  remained  at  the  school  after  hours  and 
erased  and  changed  student  answers  on  the  CRCT  from  wrong  to  right.  Principal  Barber  and 
Bell  had  a  very  close  relationship.  Bell  frequently  acted  as  Principal  Barber's  representative  in 
her  absence. 

Three  separate  witnesses  saw  Principal  Barber's  and  Bell's  cars  at  the  school  after  hours 
during  test  week  and  thought  it  was  unusual.  One  of  those  teachers  noticed  that  her  test 
documents  were  not  in  the  same  order  as  they  had  been  when  she  turned  them  in  to  the  testing 
coordinator  the  previous  day. 

Bell  denied  she  was  at  school  after  hours,  and  produced  documents  showing  she  was  not 
there  on  some  days.  Bell  did  not  deny  cheating,  but  instead  stated  that  she  was  afraid  of  losing 
her  teaching  certificate.  Principal  Barber  refused  to  answer  questions  and  asserted  her  Fifth 
Amendment  right  not  to  incriminate  herself. 

One  teacher  confessed  that  during  the  test  she  prompted  a  student  using  a  non-verbal 
signal  if  she  noticed  the  student  had  a  wrong  answer. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Christi  Giddens  (Teacher) 

Christi  Giddens  stated  that  she  observed  Theresa  Bell  staying  late  during  test  week  and 
thought  it  was  unusual.  Giddens  recalled  that  on  one  occasion  during  testing  when  she  picked  up 
her  tests  in  the  morning,  they  were  in  a  different  order  than  when  she  turned  them  in  the  day 
before.  Giddens  denied  providing  answers  to  students  or  erasing  answers,  but  admitted  that  she 
would  signal  when  she  noticed  a  student  had  a  wrong  answer. 

2.  Julian  Daniels  (Teacher) 

Julian  Daniels  observed  Barber  and  Bell  staying  late  after  testing.  Daniels  thought  this 
situation  was  highly  unusual. 

3.  Bonita  Summons  (Teacher) 

Bonita  Summons  observed  Barber  and  Bell  staying  late  after  testing.  Summons  stated 
she  thought  this  situation  was  highly  unusual. 


74 


4. 


Dr.  Arthurline  Taylor  (Testing  Coordinator) 


Dr.  Taylor  stated  that  the  tests  were  stored  in  a  secondary  room  inside  the  principal's 
office.  Prior  to  2010,  the  secondary  room  did  not  have  a  lock  on  it. 

D.  Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

/.        Dr.  Mario  Barber  (Principal) 

Principal  Barber  refused  to  answer  our  questions  and  asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment 
rights  in  response  to  all  questions  posed  to  her,  including  questions  as  to  whether  she  participated 
in,  directed  or  knew  about  cheating  on  the  CRCT  at  F.L.  Stanton.  She  also  refused  to  answer 
when  asked  about  staying  at  the  school  with  Theresa  Bell  after  hours  during  testing  week  in 
2009.  A  copy  of  the  questions  Principal  Barber  refused  to  answer  is  attached  hereto  as 
Attachment  A 

2.        Theresa  Bell  (Testing  Facilitator) 

Theresa  Bell  referred  to  herself  as  the  "testing  facilitator."  She  worked  very  closely  with 
Principal  Barber,  attended  meetings  in  her  place  and  acted  as  her  representative.  Ms.  Bell 
initially  denied  participating  in,  or  having  knowledge  of,  cheating.  However,  during  a  second 
interview  at  the  school,  the  GBI  confronted  her  with  the  allegation  that  witnesses  saw  her  car  and 
Dr.  Barber's  car  at  the  school  after  hours  during  test  week.  Bell  became  visibly  shaken. 

Bell  did  not  deny  cheating,  but  stated  that  she  was  "afraid  of  losing  [her]  teaching 
certificate."  The  GBI  informed  Bell  that  she  should  tell  the  truth  about  what  happened  during 
the  2008-2009  CRCT,  and  Bell  again  stated  that  she  was  "afraid  of  losing  her  certification."  Ms. 
Bell  was  given  a  subpoena  for  a  third  interview.  She  retained  an  attorney  and  during  the  third 
interview  produced  ATM  receipts  and  medical  records  indicating  that  she  was  not  present  at  the 
school  after  hours  on  some  days. 

E.  Other  Evidence 

CRCT  scores  at  F.L.  Stanton  declined  in  2010  for  first,  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grades. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Christi  Giddens  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  telling  students  when 
they  had  a  wrong  answer.  We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Mario  Barber  and  Theresa  Bell 
erased  and  changed  student  answer  sheets  after  the  tests  were  concluded  each  day  and  after 
school  hours. 

Principal  Mario  Barber  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation,  that 
Principal  Barber  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


75 


MARLQ  BARBER 

You  have  information  concerning  cheating  at  your  school  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  don't 
you? 

You  are  refusing  to  provide  these  investigators  with  that  information,  aren't  you? 

You  directed  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  coordinated  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  your  school,  didn't  you? 

You  facilitated  the  ability  of  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  right? 

You  knew  that  school  employees  were  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  provided  school  employees  with  access  to  the  student's  CRCT  tests  so  that  these 
school  employees  could  cheat? 

You  knew  that  teachers  were  providing  student's  with  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't 
you? 

You  changed  student's  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  didn't  you? 

In  2009,  you  were  entrusted  with  ensuring  that  school  employees  act  ethically? 

Cheating  is  unethical  isn't  it? 

You  instructed  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  pressured  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  accepted  bonus  money  from  APS  based  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

Your  school  accepted  federal  money  based  in  part  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  State  of  Georgia  an  accurate  assessment  of  your 
student's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  CRCT  you  denied  the  parents  of  your  students  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  children's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  denied  the  children  in  your  care  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  own  academic  performance. 


76 


PERKERSON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


2040  Brewer  Blvd.  Principal:  Dr.  Mable  Johnson  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis- Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Tony  Allen 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Perkerson  Elementary  in  2009.  Forty-seven  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Perkerson  is  evidenced  by  a 
high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  witness  testimony,  and  Principal  Mable  Johnson's  refusal  to 
answer  questions  about  cheating.  Principal  Johnson  was  voluntarily  interviewed  one  time. 
When  questioned  for  a  second  time,  Johnson  invoked  her  Fifth  Amendment  rights  to  every 
question  asked  of  her.  Johnson  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

66.7 

7 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

48 

4 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

21(17) 

2(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

10.6 

4.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

20.3 

5.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.7 

3.3 

77 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teachers 

Grades  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

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III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Perkerson  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


78 


First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  was  66.7%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  ten  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  that  year. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  two  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Perkerson. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  66.7%  to  7%. 

Fourth,  of  the  48  flagged  classrooms  at  Perkerson,  45  (93.8%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five  and  23  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations,  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Perkerson. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Perkerson,  91%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
66.7%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  Principal  Johnson  condoned  cheating  at  Perkerson.  Dr.  James  Boyce  told  her  about 
cheating  at  her  school  and  she  did  nothing.  SRT-1  Executive  Director  Sharon  Davis-Williams 
also  knew,  and  she  instructed  Dr.  Boyce  to  cover  up  the  cheating.  Moreover,  Principal  Johnson 
refused  to  answer  our  questions  about  cheating,  and  invoked  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  to 
remain  silent  in  response  to  direct  questions  from  us. 

B.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.        Dr.  James  Boyce  (Education  Specialist) 

Dr.  Boyce  worked  for  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams  at  School  Reform  Team  1.  He 
monitored  testing  at  Perkerson  during  the  2009  CRCT.  Dr.  Boyce  witnessed  several  teachers 
giving  students  the  right  answers  during  the  testing  period.  He  could  not  recall  the  names  of  any 
of  the  teachers  other  than  LaShaine  Blake.  He  was  certain  Blake  was  prompting  her  students. 
(Blake's  fourth  grade  reading  class  was  flagged  with  a  standard  deviation  of  16.3.)  Dr.  Boyce 
told  Principal  Johnson  about  the  prompting  and  she  "blew  him  off"  Dr.  Boyce  noted  these 
discrepancies  on  testing  forms,  but  said  Davis-Williams  instructed  him  to  improperly  change  the 
forms.  Dr.  Boyce  saw  the  testing  coordinator,  Tony  Allen,  by  himself  with  the  tests  on  multiple 
occasions. 

2.        Patricia  Williams  (Teacher) 

Patricia  Williams  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  Her  reading  and  math  classes  were 
flagged  with  standard  deviations  of  18  and  11  respectively.  She  would  collect  the  tests  in  a 
specific  order  at  the  end  of  the  day.  Williams  stated  that  the  tests  would  be  in  a  different  order 
when  they  came  back  to  her  the  next  morning.  She  says  that  Principal  Johnson  did  not  tell  the 
teachers  how  the  students  scored  in  2009,  which  she  felt  was  highly  unusual.  Principal  Johnson 


79 


directed  the  teachers  to  give  investigators  from  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  reasons  why  the 
students  did  well  on  the  tests.  Johnson  provided  the  teachers  with  explanations  for  the  high 
scores,  such  as  school  instructional  programs.  Williams  admitted  that  she  erased  stray  marks. 
She  was  surprised  that  numerous  "at  risk"  students  passed  the  CRCT  in  2009. 

3.  Shaun  Lewis  (Teacher) 

Shaun  Lewis  was  a  first  grade  teacher  for  the  2009  CRCT.  In  2009,  the  tests  were  kept  in 
a  conference  room  next  to  Principal  Johnson's  office.  At  the  first  staff  meeting  of  the  2008-2009 
school  year,  Johnson  posted  the  prior  year's  CRCT  scores  for  all  teachers  to  see.  This 
embarrassed  some  teachers  based  on  their  student's  performance.  Lewis  said  that  first  grade 
teachers  were  surprised  that  some  of  their  students  passed.  Most  first  grade  teachers  thought 
answers  were  changed  by  either  Johnson,  Testing  Coordinator  Tony  Allen  or  at  the  Brewer 
Center  when  the  tests  were  returned. 

4.  Jocelyn  Mack  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  Jocelyn  Mack  was  a  first  grade  teacher.  Her  reading  and 
language  arts  classes  were  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  with  standard  deviations  of 
six  and  five.  Principal  Johnson  asked  Mack  if  she  wanted  her  tests  early.  Mack  received  her 
tests  by  7:00  a.m.,  when  they  normally  were  not  distributed  until  8:15  a.m.  Mack  also  was  told 
to  erase  stray  marks,  but  was  not  comfortable  doing  so.  Tony  Allen  erased  stray  marks  for  Mack 
and  other  teachers. 

Mack  was  surprised  that  two  of  her  students  passed  the  2009  CRCT.  One  student  sat 
under  a  table,  then  randomly  filled  in  answers  and  still  passed.  There  was  a  student  Mack 
wanted  to  keep  in  first  grade  at  the  request  of  the  student' s  parent.  Johnson  said  the  student  had 
to  be  promoted  to  second  grade  because  the  student  passed  the  CRCT.  Several  students  passed 
first  grade  reading  but  are  now  struggling  to  read  in  the  third  grade.  Everyone  at  the  school  was 
afraid  of  Johnson. 

5.  Edia  Andrews  (Teacher) 

Edia  Andrews  was  a  second  grade  teacher  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  said  Tony  Allen 
and  Principal  Johnson  erased  stray  marks  so  the  teachers  did  not  have  to.  She  heard  that  Johnson 
or  Allen  changed  the  students'  answers.  None  of  Andrews'  classes  were  flagged  for  high  wrong- 
to-right  erasures. 

6.  Olufunke  Oyebanjo  Alamuta  (Teacher) 

Olufunke  Oyebanjo  Alamuta  was  a  first  grade  teacher  in  2009.  All  three  of  Alamuta' s 
classes  were  flagged  in  reading,  language  arts  and  math  with  standard  deviations  of  8.3,  6.5  and 
9. 1.  Alamuta  picked  up  his  tests  early  each  morning  from  Principal  Johnson  and  Tony  Allen  and 
erased  stray  marks.  He  was  surprised  that  children  with  disabilities  received  high  scores. 


80 


7.        Crystal  Cleveland-Thomas  (Teacher) 


Crystal  Cleveland-Thomas  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  had  two 
subjects  flagged  in  reading  and  math  with  standard  deviations  of  fourteen  and  ten.  She  received 
her  tests  early  each  morning  from  Principal  Johnson  and  Tony  Allen.  Cleveland-Thomas  erased 
stray  marks  as  she  was  instructed  to  do  and  was  surprised  when  some  students  passed. 

8.  Marcus  Bishop  (Paraprofessional) 

Marcus  Bishop  was  a  paraprofessional  for  kindergarten  during  the  2009  CRCT  and  did 
not  participate  in  testing.  He  heard  teachers  talking  about  behavior  problems  during  testing  days 
but  yet  these  students  had  abnormally  high  test  scores. 

9.  Alicia  Booker-Duradia  (Paraprofessional) 

Alicia  Booker-Duradia  was  a  kindergarten  paraprofessional  during  2009  CRCT  testing. 
She  said  Principal  Johnson  changed  the  testing  procedures  in  2009  by  not  requiring  proctors  in 
the  testing  room,  instead  using  hall  monitors.  Booker-Duradia  was  surprised  at  the  high  test 
scores  posted  due  to  the  amount  behavioral  problems.  Previous  principal  Dr.  Rowe  was  forced 
to  resign  because  of  low  test  scores. 

10.  The  following  people  testified  that  they  generally  had  no  knowledge  of 
cheating  but  that  there  were  one  or  more  students  in  their  class  whose 
passing  scores  surprised  them. 

Robin  Holloway  (third  grade  teacher);  Dorcas  Muwandi  (third  grade  teacher); 
Keyaneshia  Tanner  (fourth  grade  teacher);  Gloria  McCullough-Wright  (fifth  grade  teacher);  and 
Carla  Davis  (fifth  grade  teacher). 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.       Mable  Johnson  (Principal) 

Principal  Mable  Johnson  was  interviewed  the  first  time  with  her  counsel  present  and  she 
answered  questions.  The  2008-2009  school  year  was  her  first  at  Perkerson  after  transferring  to 
Perkerson  from  Tullwater  Elementary  School.  Tullwater  closed  the  previous  year.  She  denied 
any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT  test.  Only  Tony  Allen  and  Johnson  had  access  to  the 
tests  after  they  were  collected  from  the  teachers.  She  once  saw  Allen  by  himself  in  the  room 
where  the  tests  were  stored.  If  answers  were  changed,  it  would  have  been  done  by  Allen, 
although  Johnson  did  not  think  he  would  change  student's  answers.  She  trusts  Allen.  Johnson 
had  no  explanation  for  the  high  number  of  erasures. 

During  her  second  interview,  Principal  Johnson  invoked  her  Fifth  Amendment  rights  and 
refused  to  answer  all  the  questions  asked.  A  copy  of  the  questions  she  refused  to  answer  is 
included  as  Attachment  A. 


81 


2.        Tony  Allen  (Testing  Coordinator) 


Tony  Allen  was  the  testing  coordinator  for  Perkerson  during  the  2009  CRCT  and  was 
interviewed  twice  during  the  investigation.  He  answered  all  questions  asked  of  him  during  both 
interviews.  Only  he  and  Johnson  had  access  to  the  tests  after  they  were  collected  from  the 
teachers.  He  denied  that  he  changed  any  student's  answers,  or  that  he  had  any  knowledge  of 
answers  being  changed. 

Allen  erased  stray  marks.  While  he  was  packing  the  tests  to  be  returned  to  the  Brewer 
Center,  he  noticed  a  lot  of  erasures  and  smears  on  the  tests.  One  girl  sat  under  her  desk,  refusing 
to  take  the  test,  but  nevertheless  passed.  If  someone  changed  answers,  it  could  not  have  been  the 
teachers  because  they  would  not  have  had  time.  It  would  have  to  be  Principal  Johnson  because 
he  did  not  do  it.  Allen  said  there  is  no  question  in  his  mind  that  something  happened,  but  he  did 
not  see  anything.  He  "knew  in  his  heart"  that  cheating  occurred. 

3.        Lashaine  Blake 

During  the  2009  CRCT  testing,  Blake  was  a  fourth  grade  teacher.  She  testified  that  she 
had  no  knowledge  of  cheating.  She  attributed  her  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  to  testing 
strategies  she  taught  the  children.  Blake  also  denied  being  close  to  Principal  Johnson.  During 
her  second  interview,  Blake  told  investigators  that  she  saw  Lera  Middlebrooks,  a  proctor, 
pointing  to  the  questions  and  prompting  students  to  change  their  answers  during  testing. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Mable  Johnson  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  did  not  offer 
any  alternate  explanation  for  the  erasures  and  refused  to  answer  our  questions.  Tony  Allen 
assisted  Principal  Johnson  in  the  altering  of  test  documents.  It  is  further  our  conclusion  that 
LaShain  Blake  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal  Mable  Johnson  also  failed  to  properly 
monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This 
resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the 
results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


82 


MABLE  JOHNSON 

You  have  information  concerning  cheating  at  your  school  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  don't 
you? 

You  are  refusing  to  provide  these  investigators  with  that  information,  aren't  you? 

By  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  you  denied  struggling  students  the  help  they  needed  to 
succeed? 

You  directed  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  coordinated  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  your  school,  didn't  you? 

You  facilitated  the  ability  of  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  right? 

You  knew  that  school  employees  were  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  provided  school  employees  with  access  to  the  student's  CRCT  tests  so  that  these 
school  employees  could  cheat? 

You  changed  student's  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  didn't  you? 

You  did  not  report  violations  of  testing  protocol  as  you  were  required  to  do  by  Georgia 
law,  did  you? 

In  2009,  you  were  entrusted  with  ensuring  that  school  employees  act  ethically? 
Cheating  is  unethical  isn't  it? 

You  instructed  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  pressured  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  accepted  bonus  money  from  APS  based  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

Your  school  accepted  federal  money  based  in  part  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  State  of  Georgia  an  accurate  assessment  of  your 
student's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  CRCT  you  denied  the  parents  of  your  students  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  children's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  denied  the  children  in  your  care  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  own  academic  performance. 

The  State  of  Georgia  entrusted  you  to  educate  the  children  in  your  care,  right? 
The  children  of  your  school  entrusted  you  to  educate  them? 


83 


By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  violated  the  trust  placed  in  you  by  the  State  of 
Georgia,  the  parents  of  your  students  and  the  children  these  parents  placed  your  care? 


84 


CONNALLY  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1654  S  Alvarado  SW  Principal:  Mimi  Robinson  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis- Williams 

Atlanta  GA  303 11-2637  Testing  Coordinator:  Wanda  Moore- Williams 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Connally  Elementary  in  2009. 
Forty -four  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  One  teacher  confessed 
to  cheating.  Cheating  at  Connally  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a 
confession,  witness  testimony,  and  Principal  Mimi  Robinson's  refusal  to  answer  questions  about 
cheating.  Principal  Robinson  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

70.5 

9.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

55 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

20(18) 

5(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

11.5 

4.9 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

27.6 

11.1 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3 

3.1 

85 


gged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

HARBOUR 

1  RD 

4.989645814 

HARBOUR 

1  LA 

5.948463026 

HARBOUR 

1  MA 

5.123165044 

HASSAN 

1  MA 

10.29977713 

SANDERS 

1  LA 

4.795188887 

SANDERS 

1  MA 

5.250436483 

BAILEY 

2  RD 

3.042883907 

BAILEY 

2  LA 

3.012080598 

BAILEY 

2  MA 

5.053521828 

PHARR 

2  MA 

3.704999627 

ROFIE 

2  RD 

11.13795134 

ROFIE 

2  LA 

4.279818594 

ROFIE 

2  MA 

11.44561239 

WILSON 

2  RD 

13.88070319 

WILSON 

2  LA 

5.396477417 

WILSON 

2  MA 

14.38656966 

MCCLOUD 

3  RD 

18.07141354 

MCCLOUD 

3  LA 

13.27374433 

MCCLOUD 

3  MA 

16.56172273 

PAUL 

3  RD 

14.68962972 

PAUL 

3  LA 

14.04421981 

PAUL 

3  MA 

16.12151382 

SYLVESTER 

3  RD 

12.09258306 

SYLVESTER 

3  LA 

9.47995225 

SYLVESTER 

3  MA 

5.506745306 

WILLIAMS 

3  RD 

27.58655485 

WILLIAMS 

3  LA 

25.32523529 

WILLIAMS 

3  MA 

23.01671268 

BRAMWELL 

4  RD 

9.255002155 

BRAMWELL 

4  LA 

3.532059716 

BRAMWELL 

4  MA 

6.792958536 

BUTLER 

4  RD 

19.70970725 

BUTLER 

4  LA 

16.62610924 

BUTLER 

4  MA 

15.40790528 

FULFORD 

4  RD 

17.23554221 

FULFORD 

4  LA 

10.86630583 

FULFORD 

4  MA 

10.92209498 

KING 

4  RD 

6.909275388 

KING 

4  LA 

6.673814443 

KING 

4  MA 

5.56832219 

TAYLOR 

4  RD 

17.03092435 

TAYLOR 

4  LA 

14.08628719 

TAYLOR 

4  MA 

14.77419759 

DARVILLE 

5  RD 

16.06406154 

DARVILLE 

5  LA 

11.2401808 

DARVILLE 

5  MA 

12.08839125 

FRANKLIN 

5  RD 

13.34900034 

FRANKLIN 

5  LA 

8.524406345 

FRANKLIN 

5  MA 

13.49814414 

LEITNER 

5  RD 

7.764803562 

LEITNER 

5  LA 

3.026178452 

LEITNER 

5  MA 

5.355609079 

MATHIS 

5  RD 

27.23956893 

MATHIS 

5  LA 

18.18849872 

MATHIS 

5  MA 

14.06163679 

86 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Connally  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  70.5%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from 
70.5%  to  9.9%. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  one  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Connally. 

Third,  of  the  55  flagged  classrooms  at  Connally,  47  (85%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  32  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  occurred  without 
adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations,  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Connally  Elementary  School. 

Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  94%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  70.5%  of  the  total 
classrooms  in  the  school. 

B.  Narrative 

One  witness  observed  Testing  Coordinator  Wanda  Moore-Williams,  James  Howard  and 
Michael  Robinette  in  an  office  with  the  tests  erasing  answers.  All  three  deny  any  involvement 
with  cheating.  However,  only  two  individuals  had  access  to  the  tests  -  Ms.  Williams  and 
Principal  Mimi  Robinson.  Principal  Mimi  Robinson  pled  the  Fifth  Amendment  in  response  to 
our  questions  about  her  participation  in,  knowledge  of,  or  direction  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Joyce  Bucklen  (Paraprofessional) 

Joyce  Bucklen  observed  James  Howard,  Wanda  Moore- Williams,  and  Michael  Robinette 
in  Principal  Robinson's  office  and  it  "looked  like  they  were  erasing  on  the  test."  Each  person 
had  a  stack  of  tests  in  front  of  them.  At  the  end  of  the  day,  Bucklen  heard  Howard  say  he 
changed  the  tests  to  get  the  bonus  money.  Bucklen  stated  that  Howard  would  stand  in  the  hall 
during  testing  and  warn  teachers  who  were  administering  the  test  if  people  were  coming  down 
the  hall.  Bucklen  also  observed  Howard  do  this  in  prior  years. 


87 


2.        Bobbi  Garlington  (School  Improvement  Specialist) 


Bobbi  Garlington  states  she  "heard"  that  Moore-Williams,  Robinette  and  Howard  were  in 
Robinson's  office,  but  does  not  recall  where  she  heard  this  information. 

3.  Renard  McCloud  (Teacher) 

Renard  McCloud  recalled  that  on  the  2008  CRCT,  he  placed  his  students'  answer  sheets 
in  alphabetical  order  at  the  end  of  the  test  day  and  returned  them  to  the  testing  coordinator. 
When  he  picked  them  up  the  following  morning,  the  answer  sheets  were  out  of  order. 

4.  latasha  Wilson  (Teacher) 

Latasha  Wilson  admitted  that  when  a  student  in  her  class  bubbled  two  answers  on  the 
same  question,  Moore-Williams  directed  her  to  erase  both  answers  and  allow  the  student  to 
answer  the  question  again. 

5.  Michael  Darville  (Early  Intervention) 

Michael  Darville  stated  that  a  student  reported  to  him  that  Gwen  Bramwell  improperly 
assisted  students  on  the  test. 

6.  Violet  Franklin  (Teacher) 

Violet  Franklin  stated  that  a  student  reported  to  her  that  Gwen  Bramwell  improperly 
assisted  students  on  the  test. 

7.  Klarissa  Hightower  (Teacher) 

Klarissa  Hightower  stated  that  a  student  reported  to  her  that  Gwen  Bramwell  improperly 
assisted  students  on  the  test. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Mimi  Robinson  (Principal) 

Principal  Robinson  asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  against  self-incrimination  in 
response  to  each  question  asked,  including  specific  questions  about  her  involvement  in,  and 
knowledge  of,  cheating  at  Connally.  A  copy  of  the  questions  Principal  Robinson  refused  to 
answer  is  included  as  Attachment  A. 

2.  Wanda  Moore-Williams  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Wanda  Moore-Williams  denied  erasing  student  answers  or  engaging  in  any  other  form  of 
cheating.  She  stated  that  the  only  time  she  was  in  the  office  with  Howard  and  Robinette  was 
during  ITBS  testing.  Howard  and  Robinette  assisted  Moore- Williams  in  packing  up  the 
students'  ITBS  tests  because  Moore-Williams  could  not  lift  anything  due  to  a  medical  condition. 
Moore- Williams  believes  that  Bucklen  falsely  accused  her  of  changing  answers  because  of  a 


88 


personal  vendetta  against  Moore-Williams.  She  denied  ever  instructing  a  teacher  to  erase  a 
students'  answer  or  allowing  a  student  to  answer  the  question  again. 

3.  James  Howard  (Band  Director) 

James  Howard  denied  cheating.  He  stated  that  he  assisted  Moore-Williams  with  the 
ITBStest. 

4.  Michael  Robinette  (Hands  on  Atlanta) 

Michael  Robinette  denied  cheating  or  being  in  an  office  with  Moore-Williams  erasing 
answers.  Robinette  said  he  would  erase  stray  marks  and  darken  ovals  that  had  already  been 
answered. 

5.  Gwen  Bramwell  (Teacher) 
Gwen  Bramwell  denied  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 
E.       Other  Evidence 

•  Connally  met  AYP  in  school  years  2006-2007,  2007-2008,  and  2008- 
2009. 

•  In  2009-2010,  Connally  did  not  meet  AYP.  The  percentage  of  classrooms 
flagged  for  WTR  erasures  decreased  from  70.5%  in  2009  to  9.9%  in  2010. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  teachers  and  administrators  erased  and  changed  student  answer 
documents  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Connally  Elementary,  but  we  lack  sufficient  evidence  to  say 
which  people  erased  and  changed.  We  also  conclude  that  Gwen  Bramwell  cheated.  Principal 
Mimi  Robinson  asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  and  refused  to  answer  our  questions. 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Robinson  failed  to  adequately  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 
Principal  Mimi  Robinson  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation,  that 
Principal  Robinson  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


89 


MIMI  ROBINSON 

You  have  information  concerning  cheating  at  your  school  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  don't 
you? 

You  are  refusing  to  provide  these  investigators  with  that  information,  aren't  you? 

You  directed  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  coordinated  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  your  school,  didn't  you? 

You  facilitated  the  ability  of  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  right? 

You  knew  that  school  employees  were  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  provided  school  employees  with  access  to  the  student's  CRCT  tests  so  that  these 
school  employees  could  cheat? 

You  knew  that  teachers  were  providing  student's  with  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't 
you? 

You  changed  student's  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  didn't  you? 

You  did  not  report  violations  of  testing  protocol  as  you  were  required  to  do  by  Georgia 
law,  did  you? 

In  2009,  you  were  entrusted  with  ensuring  that  school  employees  act  ethically? 
Cheating  is  unethical  isn't  it? 

You  instructed  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  pressured  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  accepted  bonus  money  from  APS  based  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

Your  school  accepted  federal  money  based  in  part  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  State  of  Georgia  an  accurate  assessment  of  your 
student's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  CRCT  you  denied  the  parents  of  your  students  an  accurate  assessment  of 
heir  children's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  denied  the  children  in  your  care  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  own  academic  performance. 


90 


USHER/COLLIER  HEIGHTS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


631  Harwell  Road,  N.W.  Principal:  Gwendolyn  Rogers  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30318  Testing  Coordinator:  Donald  Bullock 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Usher  Elementary  in  2009.  Forty-three  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Three  teachers  confessed  to  cheating  at  the 
direction  of  the  test  coordinator,  Donald  Bullock.  Cheating  at  Usher  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Gwendolyn  Rogers 
failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2(109 

2011) 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

78.4 

13.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

40 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(14) 

5(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

18.5 

4.74 

Fhgh  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

38.1 

5.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.4 

91 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teachers 

Grades  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

BROOKS 

1  RD 

17.95822191 

BROOKS 

1  LA 

14.78425145 

BROOKS 

1  MA 

16.28163999 

HOLLAND 

1  RD 

9.053141313 

HOLLAND 

1  LA 

9.06061194 

HOLLAND 

1  MA 

6.662318539 

SOYINKA 

1  RD 

10.84326451 

SOYINKA 

1  LA 

15.16342855 

SOYINKA 

1  MA 

12.81760464 

ZACHERY 

2  RD 

3.110352653 

ZACHERY 

2  MA 

7.728348335 

BURNEY  WATSON 

3  RD 

24.83074131 

BURNEY  WATSON 

3  LA 

8.113355496 

BURNEY  WATSON 

3  MA 

11.71760927 

LOVETT 

3RD 

26.70142647 

LOVETT 

3  LA 

9.176189494 

LOVETT 

3  MA 

10.01352536 

SANDERS 

3  RD 

22.46947552 

SANDERS 

3  LA 

14.14114288 

SANDERS 

3  MA 

22.0128703 

SMITH 

3RD 

32.46467819 

SMITH 

3  LA 

12.85840002 

SMITH 

3  MA 

7.866562513 

GREEN  D 

4  RD 

15.57168685 

GREEN  D 

4  LA 

3.398073475 

JACKSON 

4  RD 

17.20925912 

JACKSON 

4  LA 

10.21667976 

JACKSON 

4  MA 

7.181248635 

WARE 

4  RD 

21.71258285 

WARE 

4  LA 

22.97407218 

WARE 

4  MA 

31.1458192 

ARONSON 

5  RD 

37.44090207 

ARONSON 

5  LA 

30.77499827 

ARONSON 

5  MA 

38.11328458 

BRADFORD 

5  RD 

35.93530231 

BRADFORD 

5  LA 

26.16562644 

BRADFORD 

5  MA 

37.57052406 

LADRIE 

5  RD 

34.68063584 

LABRIE 

5  LA 

22.11837313 

LABRIE 

5  MA 

20.47356742 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  educators  at  Usher  cheated  on 
the  2009  CRCT. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  78.4%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  four  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  talcing  the  2009  CRCT, 
no  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Usher. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  78.4%  to  13.3%. 


92 


Fourth,  of  the  40  flagged  classrooms  at  Usher,  38  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded 
five  (95%  of  the  total),  and  30  (75%  of  the  total)  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  this 
school. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Usher,  95.2%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
78.4%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  three  teachers  testified  that  testing  coordinator  Donald  Bullock  encouraged  and 
allowed  teachers  to  erase  and  change  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets.  Principal  Rogers  knew 
Bullock  improperly  provided  access  to  the  CRCT  materials  when  he  announced  over  the  school 
intercom  that  teachers  could  keep  their  tests  beyond  the  testing  period. 

B.  Narrative 

In  2009,  Testing  Coordinator  Donald  Bullock,  and  numerous  teachers  participated  in 
coordinated,  schoolwide  cheating.  Testing  Coordinator  Bullock  announced  that  teachers  could 
pick  up  their  tests  early  before  the  test  began  and  keep  them  until  the  end  of  the  school  day. 
Principal  Gwendolyn  Rogers  was  present  in  the  building  when  Bullock  made  this  announcement 
and  should  have  been  aware  that  Mr.  Bullock  distributed  the  tests  early.  Mr.  Bullock  also 
allowed  teachers  to  retrieve  their  tests  in  the  afternoons  after  testing  ended  so  that  they  could 
erase  students'  answers  and  change  them  from  wrong  to  right.  Specifically,  Mr.  Bullock 
approached  numerous  teachers  and  asked  them  how  their  students  performed  on  the  CRCT  that 
morning.  He  then  asked  the  teachers  whether  they  needed  to  "review"  the  students'  tests  to 
make  sure  the  students  performed  well  and  met  targets.  The  teachers  said  they  understood  that 
Mr.  Bullock  meant  that  the  teachers  should  change  student  answers.  If  a  teacher  agreed  to 
"review"  the  tests  or  "stay  late,"  Mr.  Bullock  would  take  the  tests  and  answer  documents  to  the 
teacher's  classroom  in  the  afternoon  after  testing  ended  for  the  day.  Mr.  Bullock  placed  the  tests 
in  his  briefcase,  dropped  them  off  at  each  teacher's  classroom  and  then  retrieved  them  from  each 
teacher,  placing  them  back  in  his  briefcase. 

Prior  to  the  CRCT,  Dr.  Rogers  required  the  teachers  to  make  a  list  of  their  students  and 
indicate  whether  the  teacher  expected  that  the  student  would  score  high,  middle  or  low.  The 
teachers  provided  this  list  to  Principal  Rogers  prior  to  the  CRCT.  Principal  Rogers  threatened  to 
put  any  teacher  on  a  PDP  who  did  not  have  good  CRCT  scores.  She  stated  to  the  staff:  "If 
Johnny  does  not  know  how  to  read,  he  had  better  know  how  on  test  day." 

There  was  tremendous  pressure  on  the  teachers  to  meet  targets.  Teachers  said  they  feared 
for  their  jobs  if  their  students  failed  to  meet  targets.  Other  teachers  stated  that  they  changed 
answers  so  that  they  would  be  recognized  by  the  school  for  good  test  scores. 

Several  teachers  admitted  being  surprised  by  how  well  their  students  performed  on  the 

CRCT. 


93 


C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 


1.  Diane  Green  (Teacher) 

Diane  Green  changed  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Usher.  Ms.  Green  stated  that  she 
corrected  the  students'  answers  because  she  wanted  to  get  recognized  by  the  school  for  good  test 
scores  in  reading.  A  known  consequence  for  poor  test  results  within  APS  is  being  placed  on  a 
PDP.  Donald  Bullock  served  as  Testing  Coordinator  at  Usher  for  the  first  and  only  time  in  2009. 
Bullock  made  the  tests  accessible  to  teachers  in  order  to  change  student  answers  by  providing  the 
tests  early  on  each  day  of  testing  or  allowing  them  to  retain  the  tests  after  the  testing  period 
ended.  On  one  occasion,  Mr.  Bullock  returned  the  test  to  Ms.  Green  after  the  test  period  ended 
using  a  book  bag.  He  brought  them  to  her  classroom  where  she  kept  them  for  approximately 
thirty  minutes  and  changed  answers.  Mr.  Bullock  then  came  back  around  to  collect  the  tests. 
Ms.  Green  stated  that  she  only  changed  the  students'  tests  who  had  previously  been  identified  as 
"exceeds  expectations"  on  the  CRCT  because  she  wanted  to  make  sure  they  stayed  in  that 
category.  Ms.  Green  told  Mr.  Bullock  that  she  was  afraid,  and  he  told  her,  "you  don't  let  anyone 
know  that  you  did  it." 

2.  Mary  Ware  (Teacher) 

On  at  least  two  days  during  the  2009  CRCT  Mr.  Bullock  delivered  Mary  Ware's  tests 
back  to  her  in  her  classroom  after  the  students  left  for  the  day.  Mr.  Bullock  told  her  that  she 
needed  to  meet  targets.  Ms.  Ware  changed  student  answers  in  her  classroom.  Mr.  Bullock  then 
returned  to  her  classroom  to  collect  the  tests.  Mr.  Bullock  also  directed  Ms.  Ware  to  a  teacher 
workroom  where  he  instructed  her  to  check  the  answers  of  other  students  in  the  same  grade  level. 

3.  Stacy  Smith  (Teacher) 

Stacy  Smith  confessed  to  erasing  student  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  changing  them 
from  wrong  to  right.  Tn  2009,  Mr.  Bullock  approached  Ms.  Smith  after  the  test  period  was  over 
and  asked  whether  Ms.  Smith  was  staying  after  school.  Mr.  Bullock  told  Ms.  Smith  to  look  over 
the  tests  and  see  how  the  students  did.  Mr.  Bullock  told  Ms.  Smith  "If  you  want  I  can  make  sure 
your  children  do  well.  If  you  want  to  get  the  tests  back  let  me  know."  Mr.  Bullock  delivered  the 
student  answer  documents  and  tests  to  Ms.  Smith's  classroom  where  Ms.  Smith  changed  student 
answers  from  wrong  to  right  on  the  reading  portion  of  the  test.  Mr.  Bullock  returned  to  Ms. 
Smith's  classroom  and  retrieved  the  student  answer  documents  and  tests.  Ms.  Smith  changed 
answers  because  Dr.  Rogers  put  incredible  pressure  on  the  teachers  to  meet  targets  and  told  them 
that  teachers  who  did  not  have  good  CRCT  scores  would  be  placed  on  a  PDP. 

4.  Joe  Sanders  (Teacher) 

Sanders  denied  that  he  cheated  but  stated  that  Mr.  Bullock  approached  him  three  different 
times  during  the  2009  CRCT  and  asked  him  whether  he  wanted  to  keep  his  tests  and  look  over 
them  to  make  sure  his  students  did  well.  Mr.  Bullock  was  more  persistent  on  reading  days  than 
on  math  and  science  days.  Sanders  told  Mr.  Bullock  he  did  not  want  to  keep  his  tests.  Two 
other  third  grade  teachers,  Ms.  Burney  and  Ms.  Lovett,  as  well  as  a  fifth  grade  teacher,  Ms. 
Warner,  told  him  that  they  had  also  been  approached  by  Mr.  Bullock. 


94 


5.        Sheretha  Lovett  (Teacher) 


Lovett  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating. 

6.  Jessica  Watson-Bur ney  (Teacher) 
Watson-Burney  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating. 

7.  Monique  Campbell  (Teacher) 

At  faculty  meetings,  Dr.  Rogers  told  the  teachers  that  they  would  be  placed  on  a  PDP  for 
low  test  performance  and  that  this  message  came  to  Rogers  from  Executive  Director  Tamara 
Cotman. 

8.  Stephanie  Warner  (Teacher) 

Warner  states  that  Mr.  Bullock  once  asked  her  if  she  needed  to  keep  her  tests  a  little 
longer  after  the  students  took  a  particular  section.  Warner  declined  and  asked,  "why  would  I?" 
Mr.  Bullock  said,  "Oh,  just  checking"  and  never  approached  her  about  it  again. 

9.  Brittany  Aronson  (Teacher) 

Aronson  taught  fifth  grade  at  Usher  in  2009.  Her  class  had  an  unusually  high  amount  of 
erasures,  but  she  denied  that  she  had  any  involvement  with  cheating.  She  recalled  being 
surprised  by  how  many  children  did  well  in  her  class.  She  stated  that  one  child  in  particular  was 
doing  very  poorly  in  school  and  she  recommended  that  the  child  receive  special  education 
instruction.  Ms.  Aronson  stated  that  this  particular  student  not  only  passed  the  CRCT,  but 
exceeded.  Ms.  Aronson  stated  that  in  a  staff  meeting  principal  Rogers  told  the  staff  that  "if 
Johnny  does  not  know  how  to  read,  he  had  better  know  how  on  test  day."  Ms.  Aronson  states 
that  principal  Rogers  ordered  her  to  change  certain  students'  grades  from  Ds  and  Fs  to  Cs. 

10.  Tiffany  LeBree  (Teacher) 

LeBree  denied  having  any  knowledge  of  cheating,  but  confirmed  that  principal  Rogers 
stated  in  a  staff  meeting  that  "little  Johnny  may  not  be  able  to  read  now,  but  he  better  be  able  to 
read  on  test  day." 

11.  Ameer  ah  Malcolm-Hill  (Teacher) 

Malcolm  Hill  confirmed  that  Donald  Bullock  made  an  announcement  that  the  CRCT  tests 
could  be  picked  up  early  and  kept  until  the  end  of  the  day.  Ms.  Malcolm-Hill  believes  that 
principal  Rogers  knew  this  announcement  had  been  made,  as  it  was  heard  by  all  personnel  in  the 
building. 


95 


D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


1.  Gwendolyn  Rogers  (Principal) 

Principal  Rogers  denied  participating  in,  or  having  knowledge  of,  cheating  on  the  2009 
CRCT  or  any  other  year.  She  denied  ever  making  a  statement  in  a  faculty  meeting  that  "if 
Johnny  can't  read  he'd  better  be  able  to  read  on  test  day."  She  denied  having  any  knowledge 
that  Mr.  Bullock  allowed  teachers  to  pick  up  tests  early  or  keep  them  late,  and  denied  that  she 
ever  heard  Mr.  Bullock  make  any  such  announcement  over  the  P. A.  system. 

2.  Donald  Bullock  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Mr.  Bullock  denied  participation  in,  or  knowledge  of,  cheating.  He  never  allowed 
teachers  to  pick  up  tests  early  or  keep  them  late.  He  also  denied  approaching  any  teacher  about 
retrieving  their  tests  after  hours  and  changing  answers. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

•  Several  teachers  stated  that  they  were  surprised  that  so  many  students  in 
their  class  passed  the  CRCT. 

•  Numerous  teachers  stated  that  Dr.  Rogers  and  the  APS  Administration 
placed  unreasonable  pressure  on  them  to  meet  targets,  or  be  placed  on  a 
PDP  or  lose  their  job. 

•  Discrepancies  exist  among  some  teachers'  testimony.  While  some 
teachers  went  to  the  conference  room  on  the  morning  of  testing  to  pick  up 
their  tests  and  sign  them  out  early,  others  remained  in  their  classroom  and 
Mr.  Bullock  or  another  individual  delivered  the  tests  to  their  class. 

•  Usher  made  AYP  from  2006-2009,  but  did  not  in  2010. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Testing  Coordinator  Donald  Bullock  and  Principal  Rogers  directed  and 
orchestrated  a  schoolwide  scheme  to  erase  and  change  student  answer  sheets.  Mr.  Bullock 
provided  teachers  access  to  student  answer  documents  by  allowing  them  to  pick  up  tests  early, 
keep  them  throughout  the  day,  or  by  returning  tests  to  certain  teachers  each  day  after  the  testing 
period  ended.  Bullock  instructed  teachers  to  change  answers  to  make  sure  their  students  made 
targets.  We  further  conclude  that  Diane  Green,  Mary  Ware  and  Stacy  Smith  cheated  on  the  2009 
CRCT. 

We  found  no  direct  evidence  that  flagged  fifth  grade  teachers  erased  and  changed  student 
answer  sheets.  However,  indirect  evidence  of  cheating  exists  in  those  grades  based  on  the 
testimony  of  Tiffany  LeBree  and  others  who  testified  that  Bullock  approached  them  and  asked 
them  to  keep  their  tests  after  the  test  period  ended.  The  statistical  probability  of  even  the  lowest 
wrong-to-right  standard  deviations  present  in  these  classes,  in  conjunction  with  Mr.  Bullock's 
practice  in  other  grades  of  directing  teachers  to  change  student  answers,  as  well  as  the  culture  of 


96 


intimidation  created  by  Principal  Rogers  and  Bullock,  lead  us  to  believe  that  at  least  some  of  the 
first,  second  and  fifth  grade  teachers  erased  and  changed  student  answer  sheets.  Even  if  the 
teachers  did  not  change  his  or  her  own  student  answers,  based  upon  the  above  evidence,  we 
conclude  that  another  teacher  or  Mr.  Bullock  changed  the  students'  answers. 

It  is  also  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  that  Principal 
Rogers  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities 
and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or 
erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


97 


PEYTON  FOREST  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


301  Peyton  Road,  SW  Principal:   Karen  Barlow- Brown  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30311  Testing  Coordinator:  Cornelia  Primous 

I.        INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Peyton  Forest  Elementary  in  2009.  Forty-seven 
people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  this  school  is 
evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms  and  witness  testimony.  Many  teachers  were 
involved  in  the  cheating  and  Principal  Karen  Barlow-Brown  knew  of  and  encouraged  cheating. 
Principal  Karen  Barlow-Brown  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

86.1 

26.1 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

62 

18 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

22(20) 

10(5) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

11.9 

6.0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

34.4 

14 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.9 

3.2 

98 


gged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

FULLER 

1  RD 

6.845316639 

FULLER 

1  LA 

7.721533846 

FULLER 

1  MA 

5.238670023 

MANNING 

1  RD 

13.7723999 

MANNING 

1  LA 

9.724302665 

MANNING 

1  MA 

12.40459958 

MCRAE  JACKSON 

1  RD 

5.305964802 

MCRAE  JACKSON 

1  LA 

7.014674263 

MCRAE  JACKSON 

1  MA 

6.806217113 

MERRITT 

1  RD 

7.329495331 

MERRITT 

1  LA 

6.93873241 

MERRITT 

1  MA 

6.590727549 

WILEY 

1  RD 

5.622259282 

WILEY 

1  LA 

6.190539421 

WILEY 

1  MA 

10.87495625 

BICKHAM 

2  RD 

15.21267896 

BICKHAM 

2  LA 

15.74843919 

BICKHAM 

2  MA 

22.54176257 

CAGLE 

2  LA 

4.523932656 

HERARD 

2  RD 

6.062562011 

HERARD 

2  LA 

11.4619935 

HERARD 

2  MA 

8.160896224 

LAWSHEA 

2  RD 

12.03279573 

LAWSHEA 

2  LA 

16.90360985 

LAWSHEA 

2  MA 

14.60836393 

COLLIER 

3  RD 

6.806191242 

COLLIER 

3  LA 

10.77508464 

COLLIER 

3  MA 

3.997514131 

HARRIS 

3RD 

7.709715267 

HARRIS 

3  LA 

7.19057874 

HARRIS 

3  MA 

5.600461058 

JAMES 

3  LA 

13.2243945 

WALKER 

3RD 

12.25766118 

WALKER 

3  LA 

14.67697977 

WALKER 

3  MA 

8.80635491 

WOODS 

3  RD 

10.7826517 

WOODS 

3  LA 

9.760537304 

WOODS 

3  MA 

8.429190928 

BATTLE 

4  RD 

24.03628557 

BATTLE 

4  LA 

15.03660444 

BATTLE 

4  MA 

12.07701994 

CAMPBELL 

4  RD 

4.89549029 

CAMPBELL 

4  LA 

9.162667904 

CAMPBELL 

4  MA 

7.977518957 

WACKERMAN 

4  RD 

15.85135131 

WACKERMAN 

4  LA 

23.63240343 

WACKERMAN 

4  MA 

23.22866993 

WEAVER 

4  RD 

12.37150789 

WEAVER 

4  LA 

12.48255027 

WEAVER 

4  MA 

19.43110253 

BROWN 

5  RD 

12.27913871 

BROWN 

5  LA 

21.19101291 

BROWN 

5  MA 

16.2515037 

MORRIS 

5  RD 

30.35376941 

MORRIS 

5  LA 

13.72581941 

MORRIS 

5  MA 

3.728938885 

PASCHAL 

5  RD 

34.44880292 

PASCHAL 

5  LA 

10.56260183 

PASCHAL 

5  MA 

10.65198285 

PATTERSON 

5  RD 

17.50383665 

PATTERSON 

5  LA 

10.30954442 

PATTERSON 

5  MA 

9.93931656 

99 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Peyton  Forest  Elementary 
School  was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  86.1%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  two  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  talcing  the  2009  CRCT, 
no  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Peyton  Forest  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  86. 1%  to  26. 1%. 

Fourth,  of  the  62  flagged  classrooms  at  this  school,  59  (95%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  34  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Peyton  Forest  Elementary  School. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  97.1%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  86.1%  of  the  total 
classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  witnesses  testified  that  they  heard  a  select  group  of  teachers  were  changing 
answers  on  the  CRCT  after  school  and  on  the  weekends.  Cynthia  James  testified  that  Olivia 
Harris  gave  her  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT  so  that  she  could  use  it  to  prepare  her  students.  Olivia 
Harris  should  not  have  had  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT  because  it  was  still  secured.  Principal 
Barlow-Brown  knew  that  Harris  gave  the  test  to  James.  A  witness  saw  teachers  cheating  on  the 
district  benchmark  assessment  tests  and  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Cynthia  James  (Teacher) 

In  the  fall  of  2008,  Olivia  Harris  gave  Cynthia  James  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT.  The  test 
was  clearly  marked,  "SECURE  MATERIALS.  MAY  NOT  BE  DUPLICATED."  James  knew 
that  no  one  should  have  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT  so  when  Principal  Barlow-Brown  later  said  to 
James,  "I  know  Ms.  Harris  gave  you  some  materials,"  James  pretended  to  be  confused.  James 
kept  the  copy  of  the  CRCT  and  gave  it  to  the  GBI  and  to  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission.  We 
have  confirmed  the  test  James  had  was  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT. 

James  recalled  another  occasion  when  Harris  had  a  transparency  of  a  page  from  the 
CRCT  on  her  classroom  wall.  Principal  Barlow-Brown  was  walking  out  of  the  classroom  as 
James  walked  in,  so  Principal  Barlow-Brown  must  have  seen  the  transparency  as  well.  James 


100 


heard  Harris  say  to  teacher  Kassia  Walker,  "I  wish  Ms.  [DePaula]  Woods  would  get  back 
because  I  only  know  the  reading"  portion  of  the  test. 

On  the  makeup  day  for  the  CRCT,  James  saw  that  Harris'  students  were  in  teacher  Nicole 
Collier's  classroom  and  at  a  different  time  Collier's  students  were  in  Harris'  classroom.  James 
believed  that  Collier  and  Harris  were  taking  turns  watching  each  other's  students  while  the  other 
altered  test  documents. 

A  student  told  James  that  teachers  had  given  her  answers  to  the  CRCT,  but  did  not 
identify  specific  teachers. 

Students  were  pulled  out  of  the  classroom  to  be  tested  separately.  James  attended  a  third 
grade  meeting  at  which  teachers  discussed  which  students  to  pull  out  of  their  classrooms  and  test 
in  a  small  group.  These  students  were  tested  separately  by  Loretta  Hairston,  a  retired  teacher 
who  was  brought  in  to  help  administer  the  test. 

James  identified  two  reasons  why  Principal  Barlow-Brown  must  have  known  about  the 
cheating.  First,  after  Harris  gave  James  a  copy  of  the  test,  Principal  Barlow-Brown  said  to 
James,  "I  know  Ms.  Harris  gave  you  some  materials."  Second,  Harris  had  a  student  with 
learning  disabilities  who  was  about  to  be  placed  in  PEC  (special  education);  however,  the  student 
scored  so  well  on  the  CRCT  the  previous  year  that  he  could  not  qualify  for  special  education. 
Harris  shared  her  concerns  about  the  discrepancy  between  the  child's  ability  and  test  scores  with 
administrator  Evelyn  Britton.  Britton  told  Principal  Barlow-Brown  about  Harris'  concerns. 

James  told  Cornelia  Primous  that  something  "not  right"  was  going  on  with  the  tests  and 
that  Primous  should  protect  the  tests.  Primous  then  locked  up  the  tests  in  her  office. 

James'  contract  with  APS  was  not  renewed  after  the  2008-2009  school  year.  She 
believes  that  Principal  Barlow-Brown  terminated  her  in  retaliation  for  not  cheating  and  for 
questioning  the  actions  of  the  others. 

2.        Tameka  King  (Teacher) 

Tameka  King  taught  special  education  at  Peyton  Forest  in  2009-2010  and  believes 
Principal  Barlow-Brown  cheated. 

King  heard  about  cheating  when  she  started  at  the  school  in  the  fall  of  2009.  She  heard 
that  the  following  teachers  changed  answers  on  the  tests  in  the  library  after  school  and  on  the 
weekends:  Cornelia  Primous,  Stephens  (King  believes  she  is  a  retired  teacher),  Evelyn  Britton, 
Olivia  Harris,  and  a  paraprofessional. 

The  abilities  of  the  children  in  King's  class  did  not  match  the  high  scores  they  received 
on  the  2009  CRCT.  King  e-mailed  Dr.  Alexander  and  Delicia  Goodman-Lee  with  her  concerns. 

King  believes  teachers  cheated  on  the  2010  test  as  well.  She  heard  children  talking  to 
each  other  about  how  they  had  the  answers  to  the  test. 


101 


3.        Bahji  Vomer  (Teacher) 


Bahji  Varner's  first  year  at  Peyton  Forest  was  the  2009-2010  school  year.  Varner  was 
not  at  the  school  for  the  2009  CRCT,  but  witnessed  cheating  in  2010. 

Varner  saw  teachers  cheat  on  the  APS  district-wide  benchmark  tests.  She  proctored 
during  this  test  and  saw  teachers  point  to  certain  questions  and  then  identify  the  correct  answer. 
After  completion,  the  tests  were  scanned  and  scored  at  the  school.  Enolar  Callands  would  watch 
the  tests  as  they  were  scored.  If  the  scores  were  not  high  enough,  the  teachers  would  review  the 
tests  with  the  students.  Then,  the  students  with  low  scores  were  sent  to  Callands'  or  Bess  Mae 
Paschal' s  classroom  to  retake  the  test. 

On  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test,  Paschal  instructed  students  to  write  drafts,  and  bring 
them  to  her  to  review  and  revise.  Only  after  her  revisions  were  the  students  allowed  to  write  the 
essay  on  the  official  paper. 

Varner  said  the  following  teachers  cheated  on  the  benchmark  tests  and  the  Fifth  Grade 
Writing  Test:  fourth  grade  teachers  Jamie  Manning,  Cernitha  Battle,  and  Angela  Campbell,  and 
fifth  grade  teachers  Enolar  Callands,  Karen  Patterson,  Milo  Morris,  Travis  Brown,  and  Bess  Mae 
Paschal.  Varner  stated  that  Callands  was  the  ringleader. 

Varner  did  not  report  the  cheating  to  anyone  because  she  believed  everyone  to  whom  she 
should  report  knew  of,  and  condoned,  cheating. 

4.  Jessica  Wackerman  (Teacher) 

In  2009,  teacher  Enolar  Callands  took  approximately  four  students  from  Wackerman' s 
class  to  test  them  because  of  behavior  problems. 

Wackerman  believes  that  fellow  teachers  Cernitha  Battle  and  Enolar  Callands  changed 
answers  for  the  fourth  grade  students.  Principal  Barlow-Brown  reprimanded  teacher  Alisha 
Weaver  at  a  meeting  because  one  of  Weaver's  students  wrote  "stomp  the  CRCT"  in  her  test 
booklet.  Principal  Barlow-Brown  knew  what  the  student  wrote  because  Battle  and  Callands  had 
to  go  through  all  of  the  test  booklets  and  answer  sheets  to  "erase  stray  marks."  The  "erasing  of 
stray  marks"  in  test  booklets  would  not  be  necessary  because  the  test  booklets  are  not  scanned. 

When  the  2009  CRCT  results  came  back,  Wackerman  was  shocked  at  how  well  her 
students  performed.  She  believes  someone  changed  her  students'  tests. 

5.  Brenda  Bickham  (Teacher) 

Brenda  Bickham' s  third  and  fifth  grade  students  failed  the  benchmark  tests,  but  did  well 
on  the  CRCT.  When  the  2009  CRCT  results  came  out,  Bickham  told  Principal  Barlow-Brown 
that  her  students  were  not  on  the  level  indicated  by  the  CRCT  scores.  She  thinks  that  the 
administrators  changed  the  tests  and  that  Principal  Barlow-Brown,  Testing  Coordinator  Cornelia 
Primous,  Assistant  Principal  Jacquelyn  Poindexter,  and  teacher  Olivia  Harris  were  involved. 

Teacher  Cynthia  James  told  Bickham  that  she  had  a  copy  of  the  CRCT  for  the  third  grade 
and  that  she  got  it  from  Harris. 


102 


6.        Kassia  Walker  (Teacher) 


Kassia  Walker  taught  third  grade  at  Peyton  Forest  in  2009.  She  heard  that  Harris  had  a 
copy  of  the  CRCT  and  transparencies  of  the  test  as  well.  Walker  also  heard  that  teachers  were 
asked  to  look  at  the  CRCT  booklet.  Harris  did  not  give  Walker  a  copy  of  the  test. 

Walker  saw  that  Collier's  students  would  sometimes  be  in  Harris'  classroom  with  Harris' 
students  and  vice  versa,  on  several  occasions  during  the  CRCT  testing  days. 

7.        Ramona  Rivers  (Teacher) 

Ramona  Rivers  taught  at  Peyton  Forest  until  2007.  Rivers  had  no  knowledge  of  cheating 
in  2009  but  recalled  that  Principal  Barlow-Brown  ridiculed  Cernitha  Battle  for  low  test  scores, 
and  that  every  subsequent  year  Battles'  scores  improved.  Rivers  testified  that  Dr.  Beverly  Hall 
replaced  former  principal  Cornelius  Watts  with  Principal  Barlow-Brown  because  of  the  low  test 
scores  under  Watts. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Karen  Barlow-Brown  (Principal) 

Karen  Barlow-Brown  was  the  principal  of  Peyton  Forest  for  seven  years.  She  has  no 
reason  to  believe  anyone  cheated  at  Peyton  Forest.  No  one  ever  reported  to  her  that  there  might 
be  cheating  on  the  CRCT  and  she  has  never  heard  rumors  of  cheating.  She  would  not  call 
teachers  together  to  "erase  stray  marks"  on  tests  because  that  is  against  her  own  belief  system 
and  personal  integrity.  She  denied  asking  James  if  she  received  anything  from  Harris. 

Principal  Barlow-Brown  did  not  offer  any  alternative  explanation  for  Peyton  Forest's 
extremely  high  number  of  erasures. 

2.  Cornelia  Primous  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Cornelia  Primous  was  the  counselor  and  testing  coordinator  at  Peyton  Forest  in  2009. 
She  denied  knowledge  of  cheating. 

She  and  Principal  Barlow-Brown  disagreed  about  where  the  tests  should  be  sorted  in 
2009.  Principal  Barlow-Brown  told  Primous  to  sort  them  in  the  cafeteria  but  Primous  argued 
that  they  needed  to  be  sorted  in  a  more  secure  location.  The  tests  were  sorted  in  a  conference 
room  and  were  stored  in  a  room  in  the  media  center.  She  thinks  that  the  only  people  with  keys  to 
that  room  were  Librarian  Cynthia  Thomas  and  Principal  Barlow-Brown. 

She  heard  that  Harris  had  a  copy  of  the  CRCT  in  2008  prior  to  the  administration  of  the 
2009  test.  Primous  believes  Principal  Barlow-Brown  fired  teacher  Ramona  Rivers  because  she 
would  not  take  a  copy  of  the  test. 

Principal  Barlow-Brown  moved  children  who  were  "slower"  to  a  separate  room  to  be 
tested  by  Loretta  Hairston.  This  was  a  testing  violation,  but  Primous  did  not  report  it  because 
she  was  intimidated  by  Principal  Barlow-Brown  and  feared  retribution. 


103 


3.        Olivia  Harris  (Teacher) 


Olivia  Harris  denied  the  allegations  made  by  Cynthia  James.  Harris  claimed  that  she 
downloaded  practice  test  materials  from  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education  website  and 
provided  the  practice  material  to  other  teachers.  GOSA  compared  the  test  allegedly  given  by 
Harris  to  James  and  confirmed  it  is  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT  and  not  practice  material. 

Harris  had  three  subjects  flagged  in  2010  as  well. 

4.  Jamie  Manning  (Teacher) 

Jamie  Manning  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

5.  Cernitha  Battle  (Teacher) 

Cernitha  Battle  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

6.  Angela  Campbell  (Teacher) 

Angela  Campbell  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

7.  Enolar  Callands  (Teacher) 

Enolar  Callands  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

8.  Karen  Patterson  (Teacher) 

ICaren  Patterson  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

9.  Milo  Morris  (Teacher) 

Milo  Morris  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

10.  Travis  Brown  (Teacher) 

Travis  Brown  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

11.  Bess  Mae  Paschal  (Teacher) 

Bess  Mae  Paschal  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  there  was  cheating  at  Peyton  Forest  on  the  CRCT  and  other  tests.  Olivia 
Harris  had  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT  and  used  it  to  prepare  students  for  the  2009  CRCT.  She 
also  gave  copies  of  the  2008  CRCT  to  other  teachers.  One  teacher  admitted  she  received  a  copy 
of  the  2008  test,  and  the  evidence  indicates  other  teachers  received  a  copy  as  well.  We  also 
conclude  that  teachers  at  Peyton  Forest  violated  testing  procedure  because  students  who  were  not 
documented  as  special  needs  were  tested  separately  from  their  homeroom  by  Enolar  Callands 
and  a  retired  teacher. 


104 


There  is  eyewitness  testimony  that  Jamie  Manning,  Cernitha  Battle,  Angela  Campbell, 
Enolar  Callands,  Karen  Patterson,  Milo  Morris,  Travis  Brown,  and  Bess  Mae  Paschal  cheated  on 
the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  and  APS  benchmark  tests  in  2010.  These  teachers'  extremely  high 
wrong-to-right  erasures  on  the  2009  CRCT  lead  us  to  conclude  they  cheated  on  the  CRCT  as 
well.  We  believe  teachers  were  not  truthful  with  investigators  because  they  feared  retaliation. 

Finally,  some  students'  high  CRCT  scores  were  not  consistent  with  their  actual  abilities 
and  teachers  shared  their  concerns  about  this  with  Principal  Barlow-Brown.  There  was  a 
precipitous  gain  in  CRCT  scores  in  2009  and  a  drop  in  2010  (20  declines  out  of  21  subject 
comparisons). 

Principal  Barlow-Brown  knew  of  the  cheating  this  school.  She  knew  that  Olivia  Harris 
had  a  copy  of  the  2008  CRCT.  She  should  have  known  that  teachers  were  cheating  on  the 
benchmarks  and  writing  tests.  Furthermore,  Principal  Barlow-Brown  failed  to  ensure  the  ethical 
administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical 
data  and  the  other  evidence  that  Principal  Barlow-Brown  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 

We  also  conclude  there  were  rule  violations  in  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT  and 
that  Testing  Coordinator  Cornelia  Primous  failed  in  her  responsibility  to  provide  a  secure  testing 
environment. 


105 


EAST  LAKE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


145  4th  Avenue  SE  Principal:  Gwendolyn  Benton  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30317  Testing  Coordinator:  Fran  Standifer 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  East  Lake  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 
Thirty -five  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  East  Lake 
is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms  and  witness  testimony.  Principal 
Gwendolyn  Benton  and  Testing  Coordinator  Fran  Standifer  erased  and  changed  students' 
answers  on  the  2009  CRCT.  They  also  altered  the  results  of  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test. 
Principal  Benton  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

42 

0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

21 

0 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

9(8) 

0 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.1 

0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

14.2 

0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.4 

0 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

MILLER 

1  RD 

4.497074103 

MILLER 

1  LA 

12.82386133 

MILLER 

1  MA 

9.186071087 

SMITH 

1  RD 

14.17018511 

SMITH 

1  LA 

12.987849 

SMITH 

1  MA 

11.56563203 

OLIVE 

2  RD 

4.639239175 

OLIVE 

2  LA 

6.699333434 

HADLEY 

3  RD 

11.43460607 

HADLEY 

3  LA 

4.064295785 

HADLEY 

3  MA 

3.976207527 

JONES  ALLIE 

3  LA 

4.907894118 

JONES  ALLIE 

3  MA 

6.70508625 

STAHL 

3  LA 

3.367696838 

STAHL 

3  MA 

4.159624824 

ROGERS  MARTIN 

4  RD 

6.774758244 

ROGERS  MARTIN 

4  LA 

3.791735331 

WASHINGTON 

4  RD 

8.709784986 

WASHINGTON 

4  LA 

3.752489229 

WASHINGTON 

4  MA 

6.136764455 

WALLS 

5  MA 

4.452757051 

106 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  East  Lake  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  42%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from  42% 
to  0%. 

Second,  of  the  21  flagged  classrooms  at  East  Lake  Elementary  School,  11  (52%  of  the 
total)  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  five  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard 
deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  East  Lake  Elementary  School. 

Third  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  East  Lake,  70.5%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
42%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Fourth,  Principal  Benton  created  an  environment  that  encouraged  cheating.  She 
threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  if  CRCT  scores  did  not  improve.  She  told  her  teachers  to  "do 
whatever  we  have  to  do  even  if  it  means  breaking  the  rules"  to  make  APS  targets.  She  instilled 
fear  of  reprisal  into  her  teachers  so  they  would  not  report  cheating  at  East  Lake. 

Finally,  Principal  Benton  and  Testing  Coordinator  Fran  Standifer  instructed  teachers  to 
arrange  their  students  in  a  way  that  caused  lower  performing  students  to  receive  easier  Fifth 
Grade  Writing  Tests. 

B.  Narrative 

Principal  Benton  pressured  teachers  at  East  Lake  to  "find  a  way"  to  improve  CRCT 
scores  "even  if  it  meant  breaking  the  rules."  She  threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  if  CRCT  scores 
did  not  improve.  Teachers  at  East  Lake  did  not  voice  concerns  over  testing  irregularities  and 
cheating  for  fear  of  reprisal  against  them  by  Principal  Benton. 

They  cheated  in  three  ways.  First,  Principal  Benton  instructed  teachers  to  erase  stray 
marks  on  their  students'  answer  sheets,  and  expected  teachers  to  fill  in  answers  to  questions  the 
students  left  blank,  and  erase  an  answer  when  the  student  bubbled  in  more  than  one  answer 
selection. 

Second,  they  erased  wrong  answers.  Principal  Benton  required  teachers  to  provide  her 
with  frequent  updates  on  students'  benchmark  testing  progress.  Principal  Benton  kept  posters 
containing  students'  testing  data  in  her  office,  so  she  could  easily  identify  the  students  who  were 


107 


struggling.  During  the  administration  of  the  CRCT,  Principal  Benton  required  teachers  to  provide 
her  with  the  names  of  students  who  failed  the  test  -  immediately  after  each  section  of  the  CRCT 
was  administered.  The  only  way  for  teachers  to  know  which  students  failed  was  to  review  the 
tests  right  after  the  students  completed  them. 

During  the  CRCT  testing  window,  Principal  Benton  and  Fran  Standifer  often  met  in 
Benton's  office  where  the  CRCT  materials  were  stored  for  extended  periods  of  time  with  the 
door  closed.  During  the  2010  CRCT,  however,  when  state  monitors  and  security  cameras  were 
in  the  building,  both  Benton  and  Standifer  left  the  building  early.  In  2010  Principal  Benton  told 
teachers  that  the  newly-installed  security  cameras  would  make  sure  "nothing  came  back  on  her," 
referring  to  CRCT  cheating. 

Teachers  described  students  whose  skills  and  abilities  did  not  correspond  to  their  high 
CRCT  scores.  Teachers  also  described  students  who  fell  asleep  or  refused  to  complete  portions 
of  the  CRCT,  but  met  or  exceeded  expectations  on  the  CRCT.  One  teacher  testified  that  two  of 
her  students  asked  her  if  she  would  give  them  the  answers  for  the  CRCT  "like  our  teacher  did 
last  year." 

During  the  administration  of  the  CRCT,  a  student  complained  to  his  teacher  that  his 
answer  sheet  was  placed  in  his  test  booklet  in  a  different  spot  than  where  he  left  it  the  previous 
day.  The  teacher  examined  the  answer  sheet  and  saw  that  it  contained  heavy  erasures.  As  she 
examined  the  answer  sheet,  Principal  Benton  entered  her  classroom  and  instructed  the  teacher  to 
put  the  answer  sheet  down.  The  next  day  Principal  Benton  transferred  the  teacher  to 
kindergarten. 

Third,  Principal  Benton  and  Fran  Standifer  devised  a  scheme  to  allow  the  lower 
performing  students  to  receive  the  easiest  questions  for  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  The  tests 
were  supposed  to  be  handed  out  at  random.  Principal  Benton  and  Fran  Standifer  instructed 
teachers  to  seat  their  students  in  a  particular  order  and  to  hand  out  writing  tests  in  a  particular 
order.  By  pre-arranging  the  students  and  the  tests,  Principal  Benton  and  Fran  Standifer 
attempted  to  alter  the  results  of  the  State  writing  test  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 

Principal  Benton  interfered  with  and  obstructed  this  investigation.  She  told  teachers  that 
the  GBI  was  "putting  words  in  people's  mouths."  She  threatened  teachers  that  she  would  "sue 
them  out  the  ass,"  if  any  of  them  "slandered"  her  to  the  GBI.  Teachers  told  GBI  agents  that  they 
would  not  have  testified  truthfully  to  us  if  Principal  Benton  was  still  in  charge  of  East  Lake,  for 
fear  of  retaliation. 

C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.        Claudia  Abboud  (Teacher) 

After  reviewing  East  Lake's  wrong-to-right  erasure  data,  Claudia  Abboud  believes 
cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  East  Lake  in  2009  and  in  other  years;  however,  she  does  not 
think  teachers  cheated  because  teachers  did  not  have  time  to  erase  students'  answer  sheets. 
Abboud  noted  that  although  East  Lake's  students  met  100%  of  their  APS  targets  on  the  2008 
CRCT,  the  students'  abilities  did  not  match  these  scores.    She  heard  that  another  teacher 


108 


witnessed  Principal  Benton's  car  parked  at  the  school  over  the  weekend  when  the  2009  CRCT 
materials  were  in  the  building. 

2.  Morresia  Withers  (Media  Specialist) 

Morresia  Withers  remembers  that  Principal  Benton  and  Standifer  stayed  late  behind 
closed  doors  during  the  CRCT  testing  period  in  2009  and  other  years.  After  a  security  camera 
was  installed  around  Principal  Benton's  office  for  the  2010  testing  window,  however,  Principal 
Benton  and  Standifer  did  not  stay  late  at  the  school  during  the  CRCT  testing  window. 

Withers  proctored  the  2009  CRCT  writing  test  in  Stephanie  Walls'  classroom.  She  said 
that  Principal  Benton  and  Standifer  instructed  Withers  and  Walls  to  seat  the  students  in  a 
particular  order  for  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Withers  explained  the  writing  test  was 
supposed  to  be  handed  out  randomly,  and  the  seating  arrangement  scheme  ensured  that  the 
lowest  performing  students  received  the  easiest  writing  question.  Withers  and  Walls  ignored 
Principal  Benton  and  Standifer' s  instruction,  but  did  not  report  the  attempted  violation  to  APS's 
testing  hotline. 

Withers  said  that  APS  had  a  "mafia  atmosphere"  and  that  employees  feared  retaliation  if 
they  spoke  up.  Principal  Benton  threatened  to  place  teachers  on  PDPs  for  low  CRCT  scores,  and 
stated:  "We  will  do  whatever  it  takes  to  make  sure  the  students  pass  the  test." 

3.  Raqketa  Williams  (Teacher) 

On  her  first  day  at  East  Lake  in  2009,  Principal  Benton  told  Raqketa  Williams,  "At  East 
Lake  we  do  whatever  we  have  to  do  even  if  it  means  breaking  the  rules,"  pointed  to  the  prior 
year's  CRCT  scores  and  said,  "See  the  scores?  East  Lake  makes  its  targets." 

Williams  recalls  that  Principal  Benton  referred  to  the  new  security  cameras  around  her 
office  during  the  2010  CRCT  testing  window,  and  stated,  "nothing  is  coming  back  on  me," 
Williams  understood  Benton  meant  the  security  cameras  would  not  show  Principal  Benton 
altering  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets. 

Because  of  fear  of  reprisal  by  Principal  Benton,  Raqketa  Williams  would  not  have 
testified  truthfully  to  us  if  Principal  Benton  was  still  at  East  Lake. 

4.  Stephanie  Walls  (Teacher) 

Principal  Benton  instructed  Stephanie  Walls  to  create  a  seating  chart  for  her  students  to 
be  used  during  the  2010  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Principal  Benton  instructed  Morresia  Withers 
to  pass  out  the  writing  test  to  Walls'  students  in  a  particular  order.  Walls  explained  that  by 
passing  the  tests  out  in  the  order  Principal  Benton  wanted,  the  lower  performing  students  would 
receive  easier  writing  questions.  Walls  and  Withers  discussed  Principal  Benton's  instruction  and 
decided  to  ignore  it.  They  passed  the  tests  out  randomly. 

Walls  stated  that  another  teacher,  Rashida  Davis,  received  similar  instructions  from 
Standifer  and  discussed  the  matter  with  Principal  Benton.  Walls  is  unaware  of  the  outcome  of 
that  conversation. 


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5.        VernaMcGhee  (Teacher) 


Principal  Benton  asked  each  teacher  which  students  met,  exceeded,  and  failed  to  meet 
expectations  after  each  daily  session  of  the  CRCT.  Verna  McGhee  further  testified  that  Principal 
Benton  instructed  teachers  to  erase  stray  marks  on  the  CRCT  answer  sheets,  and  "expected" 
teachers  to  fill  in  answers  for  questions  left  blank,  erase  answers  if  the  student  bubbled  in  two  or 
more  answer  choices,  and  fill  in  partially-filled  circles.  Principal  Benton  instructed  teachers  to 
never  discuss  the  CRCT. 

Another  teacher,  Viola  Nears,  told  McGhee  that  the  first  and  second  grade  teachers  used 
voice  inflection  to  prompt  their  students  during  administration  of  the  CRCT. 

In  2008,  McGhee  saw  Principal  Benton's  car  parked  at  the  school  on  a  Saturday  when  the 
CRCT  materials  were  in  the  building.  McGhee  noted  that  Principal  Benton's  car  was  parked  in 
the  back  of  the  building  and  this  was  unusual  because  Principal  Benton  always  parked  in  the 
front  of  the  building. 

McGhee  described  a  meeting  between  Principal  Benton  and  teachers  where  Principal 
Benton  stated  that  the  GBI  "was  putting  words  in  people's  mouths,  and  interrogating  them." 
Principal  Benton  further  stated  that  her  son  was  a  lawyer,  and  that  "if  anyone  slanders  me  I  will 
sue  them  out  the  ass."  McGhee  stated  that  she  could  only  testify  truthfully  without  fear  of 
reprisal  because  Principal  Benton  was  no  longer  employed  at  the  school. 

Former  testing  coordinator  at  East  Lake,  Royce  Love-Diagne,  once  told  McGhee,  "Dr. 
Hall  expects  us  to  cheat " 

6.  Maria  Johnson  (Teacher) 

During  the  2004  CRCT,  Maria  Johnson  saw  a  proctor  prompt  students  to  change  answers. 
She  reported  the  violation  to  then-testing  coordinator  Royce  Love-Diagne,  but  is  unaware  if  any 
action  was  taken.  Two  of  Maria  Johnson's  students  asked  if  she  would  give  them  the  answers  to 
the  2010  CRCT  like  their  teachers  did  the  previous  year.  Johnson  had  a  student  who  exceeded 
on  the  CRCT  one  year  and  was  placed  on  a  PEC  the  next  year  for  low  performance. 

Principal  Benton  threatened  to  place  teachers  on  a  PDP  if  their  low  CRCT  scores  did  not 
improve.  Johnson  believes  Principal  Benton  changed  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  because 
teachers  did  not  have  access  to  the  tests.  Specifically,  Johnson  identified  a  Saturday  when  she 
volunteered  at  a  Hands  On  Atlanta  event  at  East  Lake.  The  CRCT  materials  were  in  the  building 
on  that  Saturday.  All  of  the  volunteers  worked  outside  the  school  building  except  Principal 
Benton  and  her  daughter,  a  teacher  in  Gwinnett  County,  who  stayed  in  the  building. 

7.  Kori  Smith  (Instructional  Coach) 

Principal  Benton  required  teachers  to  provide  her  with  a  list  of  students  who  did  not  do 
well  after  each  section  of  the  CRCT. 

Kori  Smith  recalled  a  student  who  failed  every  class  but  exceeded  expectations  on  the 
CRCT.  She  believes  that  based  on  the  student's  skills,  his  test  score  was  not  possible.  Principal 


110 


Benton  instructed  Smith  to  change  that  student's  classroom  grades  from  failing  to  C's.  Smith 
refused  to  change  the  grades.  She  later  reviewed  his  file  and  noticed  that  someone  else  had 
changed  his  grades.  Smith  recognized  the  handwriting  that  made  the  changes  as  belonging  to 
Principal  Benton's  secretary. 

During  one  CRCT  test  session,  a  student  complained  to  Smith  that  his  answer  sheet  was 
in  a  different  place  in  the  test  booklet  than  where  he  placed  it  the  previous  day.  Smith  examined 
the  answer  sheet  and  noticed  that  it  had  heavy  erasures.  As  she  was  examining  the  answer  sheet, 
Principal  Benton  entered  her  classroom.  Principal  Benton  motioned  for  Kori  Smith  to  put  down 
the  answer  sheet.  Smith  was  transferred  to  a  kindergarten  class  the  next  day. 

8.  Cheryl  Jones-Allie  (Teacher) 

Cheryl  Jones-Allie  identified  one  student  who  could  not  read  on  a  third  grade  level  but 
passed  the  CRCT.  Jones-Allie  did  not  believe  that  student  was  capable  of  passing  the  CRCT. 
Another  student  fell  asleep  during  the  reading  section  of  the  CRCT  for  the  first  half  hour  of  the 
testing  session,  but  passed  that  portion. 

After  reviewing  her  classroom's  wrong-to-right  erasure  data,  Jones-Allie  stated  that  her 
students  did  not  have  time  to  make  all  the  erasures  on  their  test  sheets  during  the  testing  period. 

Another  teacher  told  Jones-Allie  that  she  had  seen  an  administrator's  car  at  the  school 
building  on  a  Sunday  afternoon  when  the  CRCT  answer  sheets  were  in  the  building. 

9.  Julie  Rogers-Martin  (Teacher) 

Principal  Benton  kept  charts  and  posters  on  her  walls  with  the  benchmark  scores  and 
previous  CRCT  scores  for  students,  so  she  was  aware  of  which  students  would  perform  poorly 
on  the  CRCT.  Principal  Benton  threatened  to  place  teachers  on  PDPs  if  their  CRCT  scores  did 
not  improve,  and  singled  out  teachers  with  low  CRCT  scores  at  meetings. 

Julie  Rogers-Martin  recalled  that  100%  of  her  students  met  expectations  on  the  Social 
Studies  portion  of  the  2008  CRCT.  She  was  surprised  by  this  result  because  she  knew  that  she 
did  not  focus  on  Social  Studies  throughout  the  school  year,  but  focused  on  the  AYP  subjects  of 
math,  reading,  and  language  arts. 

Rogers-Martin  had  a  student  who  could  barely  read  in  her  class  one  year.  She  filled  out 
paperwork  to  place  him  on  a  PEC  but  to  her  knowledge  he  was  never  placed  on  a  PEC.  That 
student  failed  the  CRCT  but  was  socially  promoted  to  the  third  grade.  Inexplicably,  the  student 
exceeded  expectations  on  his  third  grade  CRCT.  He  was  then  placed  on  a  PEC  in  fourth  grade. 

In  2009,  a  student  told  Rogers-Martin  that  his  previous  teachers  gave  him  answers  on  the 
CRCT.  Rogers-Martin  recalled  two  students  who  refused  to  complete  sections  of  their  2009 
CRCT.  Both  were  removed  from  her  classroom.  Both  passed  the  CRCT. 


111 


10.      Shonda  Fulton  (Secretary) 


Nobody  is  allowed  to  enter  Principal  Benton's  office  without  first  checking  with  Shonda 
Fulton.  If  the  office  door  is  shut,  Fulton  always  knocks  and  waits  for  a  response  from  Principal 
Benton  before  entering.  If  she  receives  no  response,  she  will  not  enter  the  office.  She  recalls 
leaving  between  4:00  p.m.  and  4:30  p.m.  during  the  weeks  of  CRCT  testing,  and  that  Principal 
Benton  and  Fran  Standifer  were  often  still  meeting  in  Principal  Benton's  office. 

11.  John  Stahl  (Special  Education) 

Principal  Benton  required  teachers  to  provide  lists  of  students  who  they  thought  would 
not  pass  the  CRCT.  Principal  Benton  often  told  teachers  to  "find  a  way"  for  these  students  to 
pass  the  CRCT.  She  instructed  teachers  to  "assign  quotas,  figure  it  out,  and  do  what  you  gotta 
do,"  for  students  to  pass  the  CRCT.  John  Stahl  also  heard  that  other  teachers  used  voice 
inflection  to  prompt  their  students  on  the  CRCT  at  East  Lake. 

12.  John  Young  (Teacher) 

Many  of  John  Young's  students'  skills  and  abilities  did  not  match  their  prior  CRCT 
scores.  He  thinks  that  cheating  happened  at  East  Lake  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  in  other  years, 
but  stated  that  teachers  could  not  cheat  because  they  did  not  have  time  to  erase  and  change 
students'  answer  sheets. 

Young  recalled  one  year  at  East  Lake  a  "clean  up  the  school"  event  was  planned  for  the 
weekend  when  the  CRCT  materials  would  be  in  the  school.  A  storm  was  predicted  for  that 
weekend,  and  many  people  asked  Principal  Benton  to  reschedule  the  event  for  a  different 
weekend.  Principal  Benton  insisted  the  event  be  held  when  the  CRCT  materials  were  in  the 
building.  John  Young  and  other  teachers  at  East  Lake  think  Principal  Benton  changed  answers 
on  the  CRCT  over  that  weekend. 

13.  Rashida  Davis  (Teacher) 

Many  of  Rashida  Davis'  students'  skills  did  not  match  their  previous  CRCT  scores.  She 
recalls  that  in  prior  years,  Fran  Standifer  and  Principal  Benton  always  stayed  at  the  school  late 
during  the  CRCT  testing  window.  During  the  2010  year,  however,  both  Principal  Benton  and 
Standifer  left  early  during  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test. 

One  year  Standifer  and  Principal  Benton  instructed  Davis  to  prepare  a  seating  chart  for 
her  students  to  sit  in  during  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  She  prepared  a  seating  chart  based  on 
her  knowledge  of  students'  relationships  to  one  another  to  minimize  disruption  during  the  test. 
Principal  Benton  and  Standifer  revised  the  seating  chart  heavily,  and  provided  Davis  with 
specific  instructions  as  to  how  to  pass  out  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Davis  believes  that  the 
instructions  for  passing  out  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  were  to  make  certain  that  lower 
performing  students  received  easier  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Tests. 


112 


D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


1.  Fran  Standifer  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Testing  Coordinator  Fran  Standifer  described  Principal  Benton  as  overbearing.  Standifer 
was  forbidden  to  count  CRCT  materials  or  place  those  materials  in  bins  without  Principal  Benton 
present.  Standifer  did  not  have  a  key  to  Principal  Benton's  office  where  the  CRCT  materials 
were  stored. 

Standifer  purchased  pencils  and  erasers  for  distribution  at  East  Lake  during  the  CRCT. 
When  she  collected  the  erasers  they  were  extremely  worn.  Fran  Standifer  denies  any  knowledge 
of  cheating. 

2.  Royce  Love-Diagne  (Former  Testing  Coordinator) 

Royce  Love-Diagne  recalled  Principal  Benton  often  stating  "teachers  need  to  get  their 
students  to  pass  the  CRCT  by  any  means  necessary."  She  denied  ever  instructing  teachers  to 
cheat  on  the  CRCT. 

3.  Gwendolyn  Benton  (Principal) 

Principal  Benton  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT  at  East  Lake.  She 
opined  that  all  erasing  done  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  was  done  by  the  students.  She  stated  that  for 
the  fourth  grade  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT,  East  Lake's  scores  only  dropped  one  percentage 
point  between  2009  and  2010.  Since  no  classes  were  flagged  in  2010  for  having  high  wrong-to- 
right  erasures,  and  the  scores  in  one  section  for  one  grade  did  not  drop,  Principal  Benton  believes 
that  proves  there  was  no  cheating  at  East  Lake  in  2009. 

Principal  Benton  denied  telling  a  new  teacher,  "At  East  Lake  we  do  whatever  we  have  to 
do  even  if  it  means  breaking  the  rules."  She  denied  that  she  instructed  Kori  Smith  to  put  down  a 
student  answer  sheet,  as  Kori  Smith  described,  and  did  not  transfer  her  to  kindergarten  in 
retaliation. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

On  April  13,  2010,  anonymous  staff  members  at  East  Lake  Elementary  sent  a  letter  to 
SRT-3  Executive  Director  Robin  Hall  detailing  the  oppressive  environment  created  by  Principal 
Benton,  and  describing  cheating  and  testing  violations  at  East  Lake.  A  copy  of  that  letter  is 
included  as  Attachment  A.  Robin  Hall  contacted  Kathy  Augustine  and  described  the  letter. 
Augustine  told  Robin  Hall  that  APS  previously  investigated  the  matter,  and  instructed  her  to  take 
no  action.  A  copy  of  Robin  Hall's  letter  to  Millicent  Few  describing  Augustine's  instructions  is 
included  as  Attachment  B. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Benton  and  Fran  Standifer  erased  and  changed  student  answer 
sheets  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  in  other  years.  We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Benton  and 


113 


Fran  Standifer  altered  the  results  of  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  in  2009  and  other  years  by 
manipulating  the  distribution  of  the  writing  test. 

It  is  also  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Benton  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


114 


11/13/2010     12:19  404  802  3894 


SRT  3 


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RECEIVED 

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EXECUTiVE-DlRECTOS'S  OFFICE 
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■To;Dr:RobynHaIl 

From:  East  Lake's  Staff  (present  and  former) 
Date:  March  3, 2010 

Welcome  to  SRT3. .  We  at  East  Lake  have  decided  to  tell  the  truth  concerning  the 
Erasure  Analysis.  It  is  not  our  intent  to  embarrass  the  Atlanta  School  Board  or  Dr. 
Beverly  Hall.  We  know  as  well  as  the  powers  to  be  that  there  is  validity  to  these 
findings,  no  one  would  ever  tell  a  student  to  cross  out  on  their  answer  sheet  and  then 
erase.  They  are  in&iructed  to  use  all  of  their  testing  strategies  within  the  booklet.  We 
can't  speak  for  any  other  school  but  we  can  certainly  state  facts  about  East  Lake 
Elementary.  We  are  losing  about  half  of  our  staff  because  the  system  did  not  do  anything 
to  Mrs.  Benton,  when  she  committed  FORGERY.  She  was  given  a  slap  on  the  wrist  and 
told  not  to  do  it  again.  It  was  stated  that  if  it  became  public  knowledge  that  if  would 
affect  not  only  her  but  others  as  well.  Where  is  your  INTERGRITY?  The  system 
allowed  the  BEAST  to  roam  freely  and  she  has  destroyed  everything  in  her  path.  One 
can  only  assume  that  Dr.  Hall  (superintendent)  will  allow  anyone  to  stay  as  long  as  they 
make  her  look  good,  regardless  of  what  they  do  or  say.  We  have  or  had  to  deal  with  her 
on  a  daily  basics  and  it  is  or  was  not  pleasant.  Everyone  (parents,  teachers,  ILS's, 
students)  told  you  about  her  but  you  simply  ignored  it.  You  all  started  the  fire  so  we  are 
going  to  put  it  out!  How  DARE  you  have  some  one  stand  before  u&and  say  that  she  is 
for  the  children.  She  like  the  rest  is  only  tor  HERSELF,  and  in  the  process  the  staff  has 
or  had  to  work  under  someone  that  we  don't  or  didn't  RESPECT  or  TRUST.  We  are 
only  extending  Atlanta  this  courtesy,  because  none  has  ever  been  extended  to  us.  This 
information  will  be  passed  on  to  the  Governor's  office  as  well  as  the  press.  We  have 
agreed  to  take  Polygraphs  because  she  will  deny  everything.  Here  are  some  of  the  CRCT 
testing  irregularities  that  took  place  at  East  Lake.  We  strongly  suggest  that  you  send  her 
to  another  school  so  that  everyone  will  stay.  Trust  us;  they  ARE  leaving  or  DID  leave 
because  of  her.  People  are  trying  to  find  jobs  not  lose  them.  The  situation  here  is  that 
BAD! 

•  Threats  if  your  scores  showed  where  the  children  actually  were  and  not  where  she 
wanted  them  to  be.  (making  your  targets) 

v  Intimidation  if  you  ever  disagree  or  disagreed  with  her.  (The  Miller  and  Love- 
Juan  cases) 

•  Questions:  Such  as  haw  many  of  your  students  are  testing  on  level  three  during 
the  actual  testing  period?  (asked  by  Mis.  Benton) 

•  Moving  teachers  from  upper  grades  to  lower  grades  if  their  students  didn't  make 
the  targets  or  vice-versa. 

•  A  War  Room  where  all  students  had  to  be  listed  under  each  level  by  the  teachers. 
Therefore,  making  it  easier  (for  her)  to  erase  answers'  from  wrong  to  right  on 
students  listed  under  levels  two  and  three  without  suspicion, 

•  Teachers  being  allowed  to  see  a  copy  of  the  test  during  make-up  testing. 

•  Coming  on  the  weekend  parking  her  car  behind  the  building.  The  students'  tests 
and  answer  sheets  are  locked  in  a  room  in  her  office. 


CM 
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115 


12/05/2010    13:40  404  802  3B94 


SRT  3 


#1431  P. 002/003 


November  22, 2010 


TO: 


MiMcentFew,  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer 
Robin  C.  Hall,  DA  H. 


FROM: 


Executive  Director,  SRT  3 


Re: 


East  Lake  Letter  Received  April  13, 2010 


On  April  13,  2010, 1  received  a  letter  regarding  concerns  at  East  Lake  to  include  actions 
by  the  principal  and  climate  at  the  school  that  may  have  resulted  in  unethical  testing 
practices.  I  then  contacted  my  immediate  supervisor,  Or.  Kathy  Augustine,  to  inform 
her  of  this  letter,  She  asked  who  the  letter  was  fiom  and  I  indicated  that  it  stated  from 
former  and  current  staff  of  East  Lake,  Dr,  Augustine  replied  that  she  had  received 
correspondence  about  East  Lake  from  the  same  sender  (former  and  current  staff  of  East 
Lake)  and  that  all  complaints  were  investigated  At  that  time,  I  was  not  advised  to  take 
any  further  action.  Therefore,  I  gave  the  letter  to  Sharon  Curtis  to  file. 

If  additional  clarification  is  needed,  please  do  not  hesitate  to  let  me  know, 


"I've  (fsiwdifat  psogk  wi£fot$et  wfat  y<m  said,       wifljfeigrf  wfatyim  M  fat       iMirnvfinurt  totvytm  ns<&  tkmfitt' 

-Maytjtttgiloii 


RCH:sac 


116 


COOK  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


211  Memorial  Drive  SE  Principal:  LaPaul  Shelton  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  GA  303 12-202 1  Testing  Coordinator:  Carla  Ross 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Cook  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  previous  years. 
Twenty-one  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms, 
confessions,  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  LaPaul  Shelton  provided  low  performing  students 
with  accommodations  which  were  not  allowed.  Principal  Shelton  knew  of  cheating  by  teachers. 
He  confirmed  at  least  one  eyewitness  report  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  but  took  no  action  against 
the  teacher.  Principal  LaPaul  Shelton  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


201)9 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

40.7 

5 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

22 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

10(8) 

3(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.4 

3.2 

Fhgh  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

23.6 

3.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.1 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

ANDERSON 

3  LA 

4.376594004 

NELSON  LYNCH 

3  LA 

5.07848474 

NELSON  LYNCH 

3  MA 

4.551656176 

VAN  WALKER 

3  RD 

5.801215391 

VAN  WALKER 

3  LA 

3.6491074 

VAN  WALKER 

3  MA 

3.339858491 

WILLIAMS 

3  RD 

4.666014429 

WILLIAMS 

3  LA 

5.713336681 

WILLIAMS 

3  MA 

3.379414277 

REIMNITZ 

4  RD 

6.630912183 

REIMNITZ 

4  MA 

3.88169777 

ROBERTSON 

4  RD 

5.200395825 

ROBERTSON 

4  LA 

3.837983558 

ROBERTSON 

4  MA 

3.065196438 

WATKIS 

4  RD 

4.791002758 

OFOSUHENE 

5  RD 

14.4839867 

OFOSUHENE 

5  LA 

10.99026074 

OFOSUHENE 

5  MA 

17.75189629 

V AS  SAN 

5  LA 

3.917899606 

V AS  SAN 

5  MA 

11.5343103 

WEEMS 

5  RD 

13.1011272 

WEEMS 

5  MA 

23.63884013 

117 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Cook  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  40.7%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  23  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT 
only  nine  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Cook  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  40.7%  to  5%. 

Fourth,  of  the  22  flagged  classrooms  at  Cook  Elementary  School,  11  (50%  of  the  total) 
had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  this 
school. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  68%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  40.7%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Sixth,  testing  protocols  were  not  followed  at  Cook.  Principal  Shelton,  Cheryl  Dumas, 
and  Terri  Smith  pulled  low  performing  students  from  their  regular  classrooms  and  administered 
the  CRCT  to  them  separately  in  a  room  with  the  door  closed  and  windows  covered.  Many  of 
these  students'  answer  sheets  have  high  wrong-to-right  erasures. 

Finally,  two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating  at  Cook.  Principal  Shelton  knew  cheating 
occurred,  but  instead  of  reporting  it,  he  erased  and  changed  the  previously  changed  answers. 

B.  Narrative 

In  2008  and  2009,  cheating  occurred  at  Cook  Elementary  through  various  means.  Two 
teachers,  Deborah  Weems  and  Kwabena  Ofusuhene,  confessed  to  erasing  and  changing  student 
answers  in  the  parent  conference  room  while  they  were  supposed  to  be  erasing  stray  marks. 
Weems  changed  answers  for  her  own  class,  as  well  as  other  teachers'  classes.  Weems  used  a  "go 
by"  test  from  a  student  who  she  knew  would  "exceed"  on  the  test.  Weems  used  a  transparency 
created  for  one  of  the  test  forms.  Weems  and  Ofusuhene  also  prompted  students  and  directed 
them  to  the  right  answers  during  administration  of  the  test,  causing  students  to  erase  and  change 
their  own  answers. 


118 


Teachers  cheated  because  they  feared  for  their  jobs  if  they  failed  to  make  targets  or  AYP. 
Principal  Shelton  constantly  reminded  teachers  that  if  they  could  not  make  AYP,  they  should  not 
be  in  the  profession  and  threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  for  failure  to  meet  targets.  He  also 
publicly  humiliated  and  demeaned  teachers  in  faculty  meetings  if  their  students  performed 
poorly. 

Principal  Shelton  should  have  been  on  notice  of  potential  cheating  when  numerous 
teachers  complained  that  their  students'  performance  in  class  and  on  diagnostic  tests  did  not 
match  their  performance  on  the  CRCT  the  prior  year.  Principal  Shelton  knew  that  teachers  at 
Cook  were  cheating  and  covered  it  up.  A  teacher  reported  to  Shelton  that  she  witnessed  another 
teacher  change  one  of  her  student's  answers,  and  suspected  others  were  changed  as  well. 
Shelton  retrieved  the  students'  tests  and  confirmed  the  answers  had  been  changed,  so  he  changed 
the  students'  new,  correct  answers  back  to  the  original  wrong  answer.  Despite  his  assurance  that 
he  would  handle  the  situation,  Principal  Shelton  never  addressed  the  accused  teacher,  filed  an 
OIR  report  or  took  other  action. 

Principal  Shelton  also  violated  testing  protocols  by  pulling  students  out  of  class  and 
testing  them  in  the  afternoon  in  small  groups  outside  of  the  normal  testing  period.  The  students, 
tested  in  a  room  with  the  window  covered  and  door  closed,  were  typically  low  performers  but 
were  not  entitled  to  special  accommodations.  Principal  Shelton  asked  teachers  to  provide  him 
with  a  list  of  students  in  their  class  who  were  low  performers  or  behavior  problems.  He  also 
allowed  some  students  to  "re-take"  sections  of  the  CRCT  if,  according  to  their  teacher,  they  were 
distracted  or  did  not  perform  well  during  the  morning  testing  session. 

A  review  of  the  student  data  reveals  that  several  students  who  Shelton  pulled  out  for 
small  group  testing  had  very  high  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Moreover,  several  flagged  teachers 
testified  that  the  erasure  analysis  indicated  that  they  tested  more  students  than  they  actually  did 
because  Principal  Shelton  pulled  students  from  these  teachers'  classes  and  tested  them 
elsewhere. 

C.        Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Deborah  Weems  (Teacher) 

In  2008  and  2009,  Deborah  Weems  cheated  on  the  CRCT  by  erasing  and  changing 
student  answers  and  by  giving  students  answers  during  testing.  Weems  admitted  to  cheating  and 
said  she  felt  pressured  to  cheat  by  Principal  Shelton.  Principal  Shelton  told  teachers  that  if  they 
could  not  make  AYP,  then  they  needed  to  look  for  another  profession.  Shelton  never  told 
Weems  to  cheat,  but  it  was  understood  that  it  needed  to  be  done.  Principals  could  be  put  on 
PDPs  if  the  school  failed  to  perform.  The  principal  would  then  put  teachers  on  the  "chopping 
block"  and  APS  would  "blacklist"  them.  Shelton  felt  it  was  very  important  to  be  "on  the  floor" 
and  get  recognized  during  the  annual  Convocation  ceremony. 

During  testing,  Weems  improperly  assisted  her  students.  She  told  her  students  in 
advance  that  if  she  walked  by  them  and  told  them  they  needed  to  check  their  answer  or  if  she 
called  out  that  a  certain  question  needed  to  be  reviewed  again,  that  was  a  signal  that  they  had  the 


119 


answer  wrong.  Then  Weems  would  walk  back  to  the  student  and  look  at  the  question  again.  If 
she  walked  away,  that  meant  the  student  had  the  answer  correct. 

Teachers  erased  stray  marks  from  the  tests  before  turning  them  in.  While  "erasing  stray 
marks,"  Weems  changed  students'  answers  for  the  tests  on  her  grade  level,  as  well  as  others.  In 
2009,  Weems  changed  answers  with  Kwabena  Ofusuhene,  a  fellow  fifth  grade  teacher.  When 
changing  answers,  Weems  used  a  "go-by"  or  key.  In  2008,  the  former  media  specialist,  Tiffonia 
Lamar-Sanders,  gave  her  answers  for  the  tests.  Weems  suspected  they  may  have  come  from 
tests  of  students  who  were  late  or  absent  and  were  tested  separately.  Weems  and  Ofusuhene 
looked  over  the  tests  at  the  end  of  each  test  day  so  they  would  not  get  "backlogged"  while  they 
made  the  changes. 

Weems  does  not  believe  that  Testing  Coordinator  Carla  Ross  knew  about  the  cheating. 
Ross  left  the  parent  room  where  the  teachers  were  erasing  stray  marks  so  the  teachers  could  stay 
in  the  room  with  the  tests  as  long  as  they  wanted.  In  2009,  Ofusuhene  distracted  Ross  so  that 
Weems  could  change  answers  on  the  tests. 

In  2009,  Daniela  Vassan  was  present  in  the  room  while  Weems  and  Ofusuhene  changed 
answers.  Vassan  told  Weems  she  was  tempted  to  fill  in  one  of  her  student's  answers,  but  did  not 
do  it.  Weems  took  the  test  from  Vassan  and  filled  in  the  answer. 

She  thinks  that  Jacinta  Williams  and  Amanda  Lynch  may  also  have  changed  student 
answers.  She  saw  them  erasing. 

Weems  denied  that  she  was  ever  approached  by  Principal  Shelton  regarding  any 
allegations  of  cheating  made  against  her. 

2.  Kwabena  Ofusuhene  (Teacher) 

Kwabena  Ofusuhene  admitted  that  while  "erasing  stray  marks"  in  the  parent  center,  he 
erased  and  changed  student  answers.  Weems  provided  him  with  the  answers  to  the  test  for  the 
math  section  and  he  used  it  to  "fix  answers."  Weems  knew  which  of  her  students  would  exceed 
on  the  test  and  used  one  of  their  answer  sheets  as  a  guideline.  He  denied  changing  answers  on 
other  teachers'  papers. 

He  heard  that  the  third  grade  teachers  "fixed"  answers. 

3.  Ti  ffonia  Lamar-Sanders  (Former  Media  Specialist) 

During  the  four  or  five  years  she  was  at  Cook,  Principal  Shelton  pulled  students  for  small 
group  testing.  These  students  were  typically  behavioral  problems  or  had  "test  anxiety." 

4.  Jacinta  Williams  (Teacher) 

Jacinta  Williams  saw  Weems  take  a  sheet  from  Daniela  Vassan  and  fill  in  a  student 
answer.  In  2009,  Weems  and  Ofusuhene  stayed  in  the  parent  conference  room  much  longer  than 
other  teachers  to  erase  stray  marks.  Williams  denied  changing  any  answers. 


120 


Principal  Shelton  came  to  Williams  at  the  end  of  each  test  day  and  inquired  how  she 
thought  her  students  performed.  She  informed  Shelton  which  students  did  not  complete,  or  who 
were  distracted,  during  the  test.  Principal  Shelton,  Tiffonia  Lamar-Sanders  and  Cheryl  Dumas 
pulled  those  students  out  of  class  later  that  day  and  gave  them  additional  time  to  complete  the 
test.  None  of  those  students  had  an  Individualized  Education  Plan. 

Prior  to  testing,  Williams'  team  created  a  list  of  lower  achieving  students  and  provided  it 
to  Principal  Shelton.  Shelton  then  had  these  students  tested  in  small  groups.  These  students  did 
not  have  an  Individualized  Education  Plan  either. 

5.  Amanda  Lynch  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  Daniela  Vassan  told  Amanda  Lynch  that  she  suspected  Weems 
had  changed  Vassan' s  students'  test  answers.  Lynch  told  Vassan  to  report  it  to  Shelton.  Vassan 
later  told  Lynch  she  reported  it  to  Principal  Shelton  and  he  changed  the  answers  back  to  the 
original  answers. 

Lynch  was  surprised  by  one  student's  high  test  scores  because  he  did  not  know  all  of  his 
letter  sounds.  He  passed  the  reading  portion  of  the  test. 

Principal  Shelton  pulled  students  from  Lynch' s  class  for  small  group  testing.  Lynch 
selected  which  students  would  most  benefit  from  this  environment.  Typically,  those  were 
students  who  had  behavior  problems.  On  one  occasion,  Shelton  pulled  a  student  from  her  class 
after  the  testing  period  was  over  and  allowed  the  girl  to  retake  the  test.  He  explained  to  Lynch 
that  this  student  did  not  perform  well,  so  he  was  going  to  re-administer  a  section  of  the  test  to 
her.  Lynch  denied  changing  any  answers. 

6.  Cheryl  Dumas  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  Cheryl  Dumas  administered  the  test  to  a  small  group  of  eight  to 
ten  fourth  grade  girls.  Teachers  selected  which  students  should  be  tested  away  from  their  peers. 
No  monitor  was  present  during  these  sessions. 

7.  Car  la  Brice  Ross  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Carla  Ross  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating.  She  became  visibly  upset  when 
confronted  with  the  statistical  results  of  the  wrong-to-right  erasure  analysis.  Ross  said  that 
teachers  for  third,  fourth  and  fifth  grades  were  not  supposed  to  clean  up  stray  marks  since  the 
students  were  required  to  do  so  before  turning  in  the  tests. 

8.  Daniela  Vassan  (Teacher) 

The  2008-2009  school  year  was  Daniela  Vassan' s  first  year  in  APS.  During  the  2009 
CRCT,  Vassan  witnessed  cheating.  During  the  testing  week,  Vassan  returned  her  tests  to  the 
parent  center  at  the  end  of  the  day.  She  noticed  that  a  student  left  a  question  blank  on  the 
section.  Weems  looked  up  the  problem  in  the  test  booklet,  solved  it,  and  told  Vassan  the  correct 
answer  to  bubble  in.  Vassan  refused,  so  Weems  filled  in  the  answer  on  the  student's  answer 


121 


sheet  herself.  Vassan  retrieved  the  answer  sheet  from  Weems  and  erased  the  answer  Weems 
improperly  marked.  She  then  turned  in  her  tests  and  left  the  parent  center. 

Two  hours  later,  Weems  and  Osufuhane  were  still  in  the  parent  center.  Vassan  went  to 
the  testing  coordinator  and  asked  to  verify  her  test  booklet  count.  When  she  pulled  the  student's 
answer  sheet  that  Weems  had  bubbled  in,  Vassan  noticed  it  had  been  changed  again.  She  also 
noticed  eraser  marks  on  other  students'  tests  as  well,  and  the  tests  were  out  of  alphabetical  order 
as  she  had  left  them. 

Vassan  reported  the  situation  to  Principal  Shelton.  Shelton  pulled  the  test  documents  of 
the  students  whose  answers  Vassan  believed  had  been  changed.  Shelton  then  erased  those 
students'  new,  correct  answers  and  changed  them  back  to  the  original  wrong  answer.  Vassan  did 
not  report  Shelton' s  actions  to  anyone  at  that  time,  as  she  did  not  feel  comfortable  reporting  him 
to  the  SRT  Executive  Director.  However,  in  December  2010,  she  reported  the  incident  to  her 
new  Principal,  Sharon  Briscoe,  who  took  over  for  Shelton  when  APS  promoted  him  to  Best 
Academy.  Briscoe  filed  an  OIR  report. 

At  the  end  of  each  test  day,  Principal  Shelton  asked  Vassan  how  her  students  performed 
or  inquired  whether  she  had  any  that  were  inattentive  or  sleepy.  Shelton  later  pulled  those 
students  from  class.  Shelton  also  pulled  a  group  of  fourth  grade  boys  for  testing  in  a  small 
group.  Those  students  did  not  have  an  IEP. 

9.  Tawanna  Robertson  (Teacher) 

Tawanna  Robertson  believed  that  her  fourth  graders'  prior  test  scores  (from  third  grade) 
did  not  accurately  reflect  their  abilities.  Robertson  expressed  her  concerns  to  Principal  Shelton. 
Principal  Shelton  advised  her  to  teach  the  students  and  get  them  to  the  level  where  they  should 
be  rather  than  harp  on  what  they  did  not  know. 

Robertson  reviewed  the  erasure  analysis  data  for  her  class.  She  could  not  provide  any 
explanation  for  the  high  erasures,  but  she  was  certain  that  her  students  did  not  erase  that  many 
answers  in  her  classroom.  Robertson  also  indicated  that  the  erasure  analysis  did  not  accurately 
reflect  the  number  of  students  in  her  class.  She  administered  the  test  to  15  students,  but  the 
erasure  analysis  showed  that  she  tested  20.  In  2009,  Principal  Shelton  called  several  students  out 
of  her  class  for  "small  group  testing"  with  himself  or  Cheryl  Dumas. 

10.  Lesma  Watkis  (Teacher) 

Lesma  Watkis  taught  at  Cook  from  2001  until  2010.  During  the  2009  CRCT,  Principal 
Shelton  pulled  seven  or  eight  students  out  of  her  class  for  "behavioral  issues"  and  tested  them  in 
small  groups. 

Shelton  also  tested  certain  third  and  fifth  graders  in  small  groups.  This  "small  group 
testing"  occurred  in  the  afternoon,  after  the  normal  testing  period  ended,  in  a  classroom  with  the 
door  closed  and  the  window  covered  with  paper. 

In  addition  to  pulling  "behavioral  students,"  Terri  Smith,  a  substitute  teacher  who  assisted 
with  the  CRCT,  asked  Watkis  for  a  student  who  performed  well  in  math  to  be  pulled  out  at  the 


122 


same  time.  Watkis  only  administered  the  2009  CRCT  to  ten  or  eleven  students,  but  the  erasure 
analysis  flagged  a  classroom  of  20  students. 

Watkis  believed  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  because  some  students  who  passed 
the  CRCT  were  not  functioning  on  their  grade  level  and  failed  in  class.  These  students 
performed  poorly  on  diagnostic  tests  (benchmark  tests),  but  performed  well  in  reading  and  math 
on  the  CRCT.  Osmond,  Dye,  Reimnitz  and  Robertson  expressed  their  concern  about  this 
inconsistency  to  Watkis  as  well.  Watkis  told  her  concerns  to  Principal  Shelton,  explaining  that 
her  students  especially  struggled  with  reading.  The  very  same  students  that  Watkis  informed 
Shelton  were  struggling  in  reading  ended  up  being  the  students  Shelton  pulled  for  small  group 
testing.  Watkis  is  only  flagged  in  one  class  -  reading. 

Principal  Shelton  ridiculed  teachers  whose  students  did  not  perform  well  on  the  CRCT. 
When  CRCT  scores  came  out,  Shelton  publicly  singled  out  teachers  in  a  meeting  and  told  them 
they  did  not  need  to  be  at  Cook  if  their  students  did  not  perform  better.  Teachers  could  be  placed 
on  a  PDP  or  lose  their  jobs  for  poor  student  performance. 

Just  prior  to  testing,  Principal  Shelton  held  a  meeting  in  the  auditorium  and  reiterated  that 
the  teachers  were  expected  to  do  "everything  possible"  to  ensure  the  students  passed.  Some 
teachers  expressed  concern  to  Watkis  that  they  felt  that  Shelton  wanted  them  to  cheat  in  order  for 
the  students  to  pass. 

//.      Nancy  Milledge  (Teacher  at  Best  Academy) 

Nancy  Milledge  was  a  teacher  at  Best  Academy  during  2009-2010  school  years  where 
LaPaul  Shelton  is  currently  the  Principal.  Milledge  reported  that  during  the  2009-2010  CRCT, 
Principal  Shelton  pulled  students  for  small  group  testing  under  the  guise  of  "behavioral  issues." 
Milledge  reported  this  as  a  testing  problem  during  the  2009-2010  year  because  she  believed  it 
was  disruptive  when  Principal  Shelton  came  into  the  classroom  to  pull  out  students  during 
testing.  She  knew  those  students  were  tested  elsewhere. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        LaPaul  Shelton  (Principal) 

Shelton  became  Principal  at  Cook  in  the  2004-2005  school  year.  He  confirmed  that  he 
put  pressure  on  the  teachers  to  meet  APS  targets. 

Shelton  denied  any  knowledge  of,  or  participation  in,  cheating  or  violations  reported  to 
him  with  regard  to  the  CRCT.  He  claimed  he  could  not  recall  Daniela  Vassan  coming  to  him 
with  concerns  that  her  students'  test  answers  had  been  changed  by  Deborah  Weems.  He  could 
not  recall  erasing  those  students'  answers  and  changing  them  back  to  the  original  answers  as 
marked  in  the  students'  test  booklets.  He  also  did  not  recall  pulling  a  student  from  Amanda 
Lynch' s  class  to  be  re-tested. 

Principal  Shelton  stated  that  he  tested  students  in  small  groups  who  came  to  school  late  or 
were  absent  during  testing.  He  initially  denied  pulling  students  who  were  "behavioral 
problems,"  but  ultimately  admitted  that  he  tested  some  of  these  students  in  small  groups.  He 


123 


chose  these  students  based  upon  data,  performance  and  the  recommendation  of  the  teacher. 
Shelton  admitted  to  asking  teachers  for  a  list  of  students  who  were  not  performing  well,  but 
explained  that  he  used  that  list  to  determine  which  students  needed  individual  attention 
throughout  the  year. 

Shelton  also  admitted  that  teachers  reported  to  him  that  some  students  were  not 
performing  in  class  at  the  same  high  level  they  performed  on  the  CRCT,  but  he  explained  it  was 
due  to  a  "high  mobility  rate"  at  Cook. 

When  confronted  with  the  erasure  analysis  data,  he  reluctantly  admitted  that  cheating  was 
one  explanation. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

•  Tn  2006-2007,  2007-2008,  and  2008-2009,  Cook  met  AYP 

•  In  2010,  after  Principal  Shelton  was  transferred  to  Best  Academy,  Cook 
did  not  meet  AYP. 

•  In  2010,  after  Principal  Shelton  was  transferred  to  Best  Academy,  the 
classes  flagged  at  Cook  for  wrong-to-right  erasures  dropped  dramatically 
from  40.7%  to  5%. 

•  At  Best  Academy,  where  APS  transferred  Shelton,  the  percent  of  classes 
flagged  increased  from  3.9%  in  2009  to  19.4%  in  2010,  with  Shelton  as 
Principal.  Best  was  the  only  school  in  the  district  that  increased  its 
percentage  of  classes  flagged  in  2010  by  double  digits. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Shelton  cheated  by  pulling  students  for  small  group  testing 
who  were  not  entitled  to  accommodations.  Cheryl  Dumas  and  Terri  Smith  assisted  Principal 
Shelton  in  his  cheating  scheme.  Deborah  Weems  and  Kwabena  Osufuhane  cheated  on  the 
CRCT  by  erasing  and  changing  student  answers  for  their  class  as  well  as  other  classes.  Principal 
Shelton  knew  Weems  erased  and  changed  answers  but  took  no  action.  The  cheating  occurred  in 
2008  and  2009. 

Although  no  direct  evidence  exists  that  Dr.  Carla  Ross,  the  testing  coordinator,  knew  of 
or  condoned  cheating,  we  conclude  that  Dr.  Ross  failed  to  follow  testing  protocols,  and  thereby 
allowed  cheating  to  occur. 

Tt  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Shelton  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


124 


WOODSON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1605  Donald  Lee  Hollowell  Pkwy.  NE         Principal:  Dr.  Viola  Blackshear  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  GA  30318  Testing  Coordinator:  Ketchia  Smith 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Woodson  Elementary  in  2009.  Fifty -five  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating 
at  Woodson  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions,  witness 
testimony,  and  Principal  Viola  Blackshear' s  refusal  to  answer  our  questions.  Principal  Viola 
Blackshear  answered  our  questions  during  her  first  interview,  but  during  her  second  interview, 
she  refused  to  answer  questions  and  instead  asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  against  self- 
incrimination.  Principal  Viola  Blackshear  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

63.3 

15.7 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

38 

10 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

16(13) 

4(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  Stale  Norm 

7.9 

6.6 

Fhgh  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

15.8 

10.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.4 

3.2 

125 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

GAMBLE 

1  MA 

4.274325147 

LADIPO 

1  RD 

6.996825212 

LADIPO 

1  LA 

9.802024308 

LADIPO 

1  MA 

5.006408649 

PICKETT 

1  RD 

7.614992557 

PICKETT 

1  LA 

15.73260912 

PICKETT 

1  MA 

13.41230842 

SMITH 

1  LA 

4.132890062 

SMITH 

1  MA 

4.547985923 

DANIELS 

2  RD 

6.398818908 

DANIELS 

2  LA 

3.999849742 

DANIELS 

2  MA 

4.811222851 

KING 

2  RD 

3.866378599 

LEE  DAVIS 

2  MA 

4.948431478 

KIRKLAND 

3RD 

11.40088789 

KIRKLAND 

3  LA 

8.725414963 

STARKS 

3  RD 

5.867326539 

STARKS 

3  LA 

5.329997169 

STARKS 

3  MA 

6.674076464 

WOODSON 

3  RD 

12.82810116 

WOODSON 

3  LA 

9.748608194 

WOODSON 

3  MA 

12.82614325 

BALTGH 

4  RD 

6.73483161 

BAUGH 

4  LA 

4.886074383 

BAUGH 

4  MA 

5.760674426 

COLEMAN 

4  LA 

4.603220731 

COLEMAN 

4  MA 

4.170944435 

STROZIER 

4  RD 

15.55542851 

STROZIER 

4  LA 

15.83102627 

STROZIER 

4  MA 

10.45287493 

JOHNSON 

5  RD 

10.58464209 

JOHNSON 

5  LA 

4.995338884 

JOHNSON 

5  MA 

15.43702794 

MOSS 

5  RD 

3.393715479 

MOSS 

5  LA 

8.948834018 

MOSS 

5  MA 

6.585089103 

WARTHEN 

5  RD 

8.999403937 

WARTIIEN 

5  LA 

6.008572654 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  significant  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Woodson 
Elementary  School  was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately 
reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  63.3%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  13  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  two  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Woodson  Elementary  School. 


126 


Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  63.3%  to  15.7%. 

Fourth,  of  the  38  flagged  classrooms  at  Woodson,  26  (68%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  ten  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations,  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Woodson. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Woodson,  87.8%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
63.3%)  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  two  teachers  admitted  to  prompting  students  to  erase  and  change  answers  during  the 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  Testing  Coordinator  Dixon  instructed  teachers  to  seat 
students  strategically  so  students  could  copy  one  another's  work  on  the  CRCT.  Principal 
Blackshear  refused  to  answer  questions  about  cheating  at  Woodson  and  asserted  her  Fifth 
Amendment  right  to  remain  silent  in  response  to  every  question.  A  copy  of  the  questions 
Principal  Blackshear  refused  to  answer  is  included  as  Attachment  A. 

B.  Narrative 

Principal  Viola  Blackshear  is  the  principal  at  Woodson.  Prior  to  the  2009  CRCT, 
Woodson  made  AYP,  but  failed  to  meet  targets.  As  a  result,  Dr.  Blackshear  was  on  a  PDP  at  the 
time  of  the  2009  CRCT. 

In  2009,  teachers  cheated  on  the  CRCT  at  Woodson  by  using  non-verbal  signals  to  assist 
students,  or  strategically  seated  students  so  that  they  could  cheat  off  of  each  other.  One  teacher 
cheated  at  the  suggestion  of  Instructional  Liaison  Specialist  Debra  Dixon.  Dixon,  as  well  as 
Testing  Coordinator  Ketchia  Smith  and  Principal  Viola  Blackshear,  denied  knowledge  of  or 
participation  in  cheating. 

No  one  at  Woodson  confessed  to  erasing  or  changing  answers,  but  two  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating  in  other  ways.  However,  when  Principal  Blackshear  was  interviewed,  she 
asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment  right  against  self-incrimination  in  response  to  every  question, 
including  specific  questions  about  whether  she  erased  and  changed  answer  documents.  It  is 
undisputed  that  Dr.  Blackshear  had  twenty-four  hour  access  to  the  tests  and  habitually  stayed  at 
the  school  after  hours. 

Throughout  the  school  year  and  in  the  weeks  leading  up  to  the  CRCT,  Principal 
Blackshear  and  Dixon  tracked  how  the  teachers  expected  each  student  to  perform  on  the  CRCT  - 
meets,  exceeds,  or  not  meets.  Teachers  used  these  "projection  sheets"  to  determine  where  to 
focus  instruction  for  each  student.  Administrators  used  these  "projection  sheets"  to  determine  if 
the  school  would  make  AYP  or  targets.  The  erasure  analysis  data  reveals  a  correlation  in  some 
flagged  classes  between  students  on  a  teacher's  "not  meets"  list  and  the  students  with  the  highest 
number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures. 


127 


C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 


1.  Deloris  Pickett  (Teacher) 

Del  oris  Pickett  worked  in  APS  for  41  years  and  retired  after  the  2008-2009  school  year. 
Initially,  Pickett  denied  doing  anything  to  contribute  to  the  high  volume  of  erasures  on  her 
students'  test  documents,  but  ultimately  admitted  that  she  may  have  frowned  or  looked  at 
students  with  displeasure  when  they  missed  questions.  Pickett  believed  her  actions  likely  caused 
the  students  to  erase  and  change  their  answers. 

2.  Ashlyn  Strozier  (Teacher) 

Ashlyn  Strozier  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  seating  students  so  that 
students  with  the  same  test  form  could  cheat  off  of  each  other's  test.  Debra  Dixon  suggested  that 
the  teachers  strategize  and  seat  the  students  so  that  they  could  cheat  off  of  one  another's  paper. 
Strozier  also  admitted  to  prompting  students  by  giving  them  a  certain  look  when  she  saw  them 
missing  questions.  Strozier  knew  that  Celesia  Baugh  also  seated  her  students  strategically 
because  they  discussed  it. 

To  assist  the  teachers  in  reaching  targets  and  AYP,  the  teachers  were  required  to  prepare 
projection  sheets  that  reflect  which  students  the  teacher  expected  would  meet,  exceed  or  not  meet 
expectations  on  the  CRCT.  The  teachers  prepared  this  data  several  times  a  year.  The  most 
recent  set  of  "projections"  would  be  turned  over  to  the  administrators  approximately  six  weeks 
before  the  CRCT.  The  school  administrators  also  used  these  projections  to  determine  if  the 
school  would  make  AYP  and  targets. 

The  2008-2009  school  year  was  Strozier' s  first  year  at  Woodson,  but  she  quickly  noticed 
that  her  students'  performance  in  class  did  not  match  their  passing  CRCT  scores  from  the  prior 
year.  Strozier  believed  her  students'  scores  had  been  inflated.  Two  particular  students  exceeded 
in  reading  and  language  arts  on  the  CRCT  in  the  third  grade,  but  when  Strozier  taught  them  in 
fourth  grade,  she  had  to  tutor  them  because  they  could  not  read.  Strozier  had  several  students 
who  passed  certain  subjects  on  the  CRCT  that  should  not  have.  She  especially  questioned  one 
student's  scores  in  reading  and  language  arts  when  the  student  could  not  read. 

In  2010,  Strozier  informed  Principal  Blackshear  that  her  students'  previous  CRCT  scores 
had  been  inflated  because  there  was  no  way  the  students  in  her  class  achieved  the  test  results 
reflected  from  the  previous  year.  Principal  Blackshear  told  her  she  did  not  know  what  happened. 

When  the  news  broke  about  the  2009  CRCT  erasure  analysis,  Principal  Blackshear  held  a 
meeting  with  the  teachers  to  "calm  them  down".  During  that  meeting,  Principal  Blackshear 
warned  teachers  to  be  careful  what  they  said  to  people  outside  of  the  school.  Principal 
Blackshear  reminded  the  teachers  that  the  tests  were  kept  in  a  secure  area  in  her  office,  which 
was  a  vault,  and  that  she  knew,  and  the  teachers  knew,  that  she  did  not  touch  any  of  the  tests. 
She  also  reminded  the  teachers  that  she  instructed  them  during  the  week  of  testing  to  leave  the 
school  as  soon  as  school  ended,  and  that  they  were  not  allowed  to  report  to  the  school  on 
weekends  during  the  testing  window.  Principal  Blackshear  stressed  the  importance  of  knowing 
the  testing  rules  and  reminded  the  teachers  of  the  process  of  elimination  testing  strategies  used  at 


128 


Woodson.  Strozier  interpreted  the  meeting  by  Blackshear  as  an  opportunity  for  Blackshear  to 
prepare  the  teachers  for  any  upcoming  interviews. 

Principal  Blackshear  is  now  on  a  PDP  for  having  low  test  scores  for  a  third  year  in  a  row. 

3.  Jeannie  Collins  (Front  Office  Staff) 

Only  Principal  Blackshear,  Ms.  Crawford  (secretary),  Testing  Coordinator  Ketchia 
Smith,  Brandon  Green  (paraprofessional)  and  Collins  have  alarm  codes  to  the  building. 

4.  Edith  Ladipo  (Teacher) 

Edith  Ladipo  provided  a  list  of  students  to  ILS  Dixon  that  delineated  which  students  she 
believed  would  fail  the  CRCT.  Ladipo  recalled  being  shocked  that  one  of  her  students  passed. 

On  the  morning  of  the  day  Ladipo  was  subpoenaed  for  an  interview  by  the  GBI,  Principal 
Blackshear  provided  Ladipo  with  a  list  of  her  students  from  the  2008-2009  school  year.  This 
document  reflected  how  her  students  had  performed  on  the  CRCT.  Ladipo  confirmed  that 
Principal  Blackshear  was  aware  that  Ladipo  was  to  be  interviewed  the  same  day. 

5.  Brandon  Green  (Paraprofessional) 

Brandon  Green  assisted  with  after  school  programs  and  Saturday  school.  During  the 
CRCT,  he  was  a  hallway  monitor.  Due  to  his  weekend  responsibilities,  he  had  24  hour  key  card 
access.  During  the  CRCT,  Principal  Blackshear  told  him  not  to  come  to  the  school  on  weekends 
or  let  anyone  else  into  the  school. 

Green  typically  reported  to  work  between  6:30  a.m.  and  6:45  a.m.  Jeannie  Collins, 
Principal  Blackshear  and  Ketchia  Smith  also  arrive  around  6:30  a.m.  Debra  Dixon  would  arrive 
around  7:30  a.m. 

Principal  Blackshear  often  stayed  late  in  the  evening  to  work,  but  Green  did  not  recall  if 
he  saw  anyone  staying  late  during  the  2009  testing  window. 

6.  Ketchia  Smith  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Ketchia  Smith  does  not  believe  any  cheating  occurred  at  Woodson.  Smith  has  worked 
with  Principal  Blackshear  for  five  or  six  years  and  has  been  the  testing  coordinator  since  2002. 
After  the  reports  came  out  alleging  cheating  in  APS,  Principal  Blackshear  held  a  meeting  with 
the  staff.  Smith  believed  the  purpose  of  the  meeting  was  to  encourage  teachers  not  to  alarm  the 
students.  Smith  does  not  recall  Principal  Blackshear  reminding  the  teachers  that  the  tests  were 
kept  in  a  vault,  that  she  made  them  leave  at  the  end  of  each  day,  that  she  did  not  allow  anyone  at 
the  school  on  weekends  during  testing,  that  Principal  Blackshear  did  not  handle  the  tests  herself, 
or  that  teachers  should  refresh  their  memory  on  testing  procedures.  Smith  confirmed  that 
Principal  Blackshear  talked  about  testing  strategies  during  that  meeting. 


129 


Smith  was  not  aware  that  Principal  Blackshear  met  with  teachers  and  provided  them  with 
students'  CRCT  data  prior  to  the  teachers  appearing  for  our  interviews.  Smith  said  it  would  be 
unusual  for  Blackshear  to  provide  this  information. 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  teachers  picked  up  their  test  at  7:45  a.m.  Smith  conceded  this 
early  pickup  meant  that  the  teachers  had  the  tests  in  their  possession  an  hour  and  fifteen  minutes 
before  testing  began,  but  Smith  denied  suggesting  the  teachers  do  anything  unethical  with  the 
tests.  The  teachers  were  not  allowed  to  erase  stray  marks  without  being  monitored.  Smith  stored 
the  test  documents  in  Principal  Blackshear' s  conference  room  overnight.  Smith  and  Principal 
Blackshear  were  the  only  people  with  keys  to  the  conference  room  where  the  tests  were  stored. 
Principal  Blackshear  had  24  hour  access  to  the  building,  but  Smith  was  unsure  of  whether  she 
had  limits  on  her  card.  She  left  the  school  each  day  at  3:00  p.m. 

Smith  denied  participating  in,  or  having  knowledge  of,  cheating  or  testing  irregularities. 
She  could  not  explain  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  for  many  students. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Dr.  Viola  Blackshear  (Principal) 

When  confronted  by  the  GBI  about  meeting  with  teachers  in  advance  of  their  interviews, 
Blackshear  denied  providing  teachers  with  CRCT  data  analysis  for  the  purpose  of  assisting  them 
in  interviews.  She  stated  that  several  teachers  approached  her  after  their  interviews  with  the  GBI 
and  asked  for  their  data.  Blackshear  prepared  the  CRCT  data  analysis  because  she  needed  to 
justify  the  drop  in  test  scores  to  her  Executive  Director,  Tamara  Cotman.  Blackshear  attributed 
the  drop  in  scores  to  new  programs  in  reading  and  math. 

When  interviewed  by  the  GBI,  Principal  Blackshear  denied  knowledge  of,  or 
participating  in,  cheating.  However,  when  we  interviewed  her,  Principal  Blackshear  refused  to 
answer  questions  and  asserted  her  Fifth  Amendment  rights  to  all  questions  asked. 

2.  Celesia  Baugh  (Teacher) 

Celesia  Baugh  denied  cheating.  She  further  denied  seating  students  in  a  particular  order 
or  being  instructed  to  do  so.  However,  Baugh  explained  that  the  high  numbers  of  wrong-to-right 
erasures  must  be  a  result  of  someone  altering  the  tests.  Although  students  do  erase,  Baugh  does 
not  believe  that  her  students  erased  to  the  degree  shown  by  the  erasure  analysis. 

Baugh  recalls  Principal  Blackshear  telling  teachers  she  believed  the  investigation  to  be  a 
"witch  hunt"  and  that  innocent  people  would  get  hurt.  Blackshear  stated  she  was  glad  that 
everyone  left  school  on  time  during  test  week.  Blackshear  mentioned  certain  common  sense 
things  during  that  meeting  that  did  not  need  to  be  pointed  out.  For  example,  Principal 
Blackshear  mentioned  that  the  tests  were  locked  up  and  then  discussed  the  testing  strategies  used 
at  Woodson  -  the  process  of  elimination  and  marking  C  as  a  placeholder  if  a  student  wanted  to 
skip  a  question  and  come  back  to  it. 

Baugh  confirmed  that  she  provided  projection  sheets  to  Principal  Blackshear  and  Dixon 
in  the  weeks  leading  up  to  the  CRCT. 


130 


3.        Debra  Dixon  (Instructional  Liaison  Specialist) 


Debra  Dixon  was  the  Instructional  Liaison  Specialist  at  Woodson  from  2005  until 
November  2010  when  she  became  the  interim  Principal  at  Usher  Elementary.  While  at 
Woodson,  Dixon  assisted  with  the  CRCT  as  a  hall  monitor  and  as  a  classroom  proctor  for  new  or 
struggling  teachers. 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  the  materials  were  stored  in  the  conference  room  next  to 
Principal  Blackshear's  office.  Smith  and  Principal  Blackshear  had  access  to  that  room. 
Blackshear  had  24  hour  access  to  the  building.  She  requested  that  everyone  leave  the  school 
after  administering  the  CRCT  and  that  no  one  remain  in  the  building  after  Blackshear  left. 

Dixon  denied  advising  faculty  to  "do  what  they  needed  to  do"  to  make  targets. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

•  In  the  2006-2007,  2007-2008,  and  2008-2009  school  years,  Woodson  met 
AYP. 

•  In  2010,  Woodson  did  not  make  AYP. 

•  Principal  Viola  Blackshear  was  on  a  PDP  in  2008-2009  for  not  meeting 
APS  targets. 

•  In  some  classes  a  correlation  exists  between  students  categorized  by 
teachers  on  projection  sheets  as  "not  meets"  and  students  with  the  highest 
erasures. 

•  A  correlation  exists  between  students  who  were  "prompted"  or  assisted  by 
a  teacher  on  the  CRCT  and  students  identified  by  the  erasure  analysis  as 
having  the  highest  number  of  erasures. 

•  In  some  classes  where  teachers  denied  cheating,  student  data  reveals  that  a 
large  number  of  students'  answers  were  changed  from  wrong  to  right  at  a 
70-100%  success  rate. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Delores  Pickett,  Celesia  Bough  and  Ashlyn  Strozier  cheated  on  the 
2009  CRCT.  While  other  teachers  denied  assisting  their  students,  based  upon  the  statistical 
improbability  of  even  the  lowest  standard  deviations  in  the  flagged  classes,  we  conclude  that 
other  teachers  likely  prompted  students  in  their  classes  as  well,  but  were  not  truthful  during  this 
investigation. 

We  also  conclude  that  Testing  Coordinator  Dixon  cheated  by  instructing  teachers  to  seat 
students  strategically  so  the  students  could  copy  one  another's  work  during  the  CRCT. 


131 


Principal  Blackshear  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  We  conclude 
from  the  statistical  data  and  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that  Principal  Viola 
Blackshear  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities 
and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting,  or 
erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


132 


VIOLA  BLACKSHEAR 

You  have  information  concerning  cheating  at  your  school  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  don't 
you? 

You  are  refusing  to  provide  these  investigators  with  that  information,  aren't  you? 

You  directed  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  coordinated  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  your  school,  didn't  you? 

You  facilitated  the  ability  of  school  employees  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  right? 

You  knew  that  school  employees  were  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't  you? 

You  knew  that  teachers  were  providing  student's  with  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT,  didn't 
you? 

You  changed  student's  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  test,  didn't  you? 

You  did  not  report  violations  of  testing  protocol  as  you  were  required  to  do  by  Georgia 
law,  did  you? 

In  2009,  you  were  entrusted  with  ensuring  that  school  employees  act  ethically? 
Cheating  is  unethical  isn't  it? 

You  instructed  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  pressured  your  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT  didn't  you? 

You  accepted  bonus  money  from  APS  based  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

Your  school  accepted  federal  money  based  in  part  on  test  scores  you  knew  to  be  false? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT  you  denied  the  State  of  Georgia  an  accurate  assessment  of  your 
student's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  CRCT  you  denied  the  parents  of  your  students  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  children's  academic  performance? 

By  cheating  on  the  CRCT,  you  denied  the  children  in  your  care  an  accurate  assessment  of 
their  own  academic  performance. 


133 


SCOTT  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1752  Hollywood  Road  Principal:  Roxianne  Smith  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30318  Testing  Coordinator:  Dr.  Juanessa  Booker 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Scott  Elementary  in  2009.  Forty-six  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Scott  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms  and  by  witness  testimony.  Principal  Roxianne  Smith  failed  to 
properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

68 

1.4 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

51 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

19(17) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

12.1 

3.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

20.2 

3.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.4 

3.2 

134 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

BLACK 

1  LA 

4.826004496 

NARCISSE 

1  RD 

3.474138687 

SMITH 

1  LA 

7.690591885 

SMITH 

1  MA 

6.070464107 

DORSEY 

2  LA 

6.972660013 

DORSEY 

2  MA 

15.4142974 

GREEN 

2  RD 

8.746386998 

GREEN 

2  LA 

6.164641216 

GREEN 

2  MA 

5.017181495 

HARRIS 

2  RD 

6.574296329 

HARRIS 

2  LA 

11.59803391 

HARRIS 

2  MA 

16.56563092 

WORLDS 

2  RD 

11.3504833 

WORLDS 

2  LA 

15.95132699 

WORLDS 

2  MA 

13.68729712 

GONGLEFSKI 

3  RD 

20.28051075 

GONGLEFSKI 

3  LA 

6.422355453 

GONGLEFSKI 

3  MA 

15.06647269 

RUCKER 

3  RD 

19.43475948 

RUCKER 

3  LA 

9.856691098 

RUCKER 

3  MA 

16.49481446 

QUACKENBUSH 

3RD 

16.53018878 

QUACKENBUSH 

3  LA 

9.627092713 

QUACKENBUSH 

3  MA 

17.8510615 

HINES 

3  RD 

15.39361764 

HINES 

3  LA 

8.938297558 

HINES 

3  MA 

13.29794642 

MCNABB 

4  RD 

11.59287424 

MCNABB 

4  LA 

12.79366698 

MCNABB 

4  MA 

9.484797502 

HARVEY 

4  RD 

15.01810238 

HARVEY 

4  LA 

16.4742188 

HARVEY 

4  MA 

16.918895 

YOUNG 

4  RD 

15.922633 

YOUNG 

4  LA 

13.05905558 

YOUNG 

4  MA 

16.74915896 

CARTER 

4  RD 

15.57551544 

CARTER 

4  LA 

13.95805355 

CARTER 

4  MA 

15.74959352 

GRAVES 

5  RD 

14.69595248 

GRAVES 

5  LA 

5.226172536 

GRAVES 

5  MA 

14.9440121 

LAMORTE 

5  RD 

7.244467584 

LAMORTE 

5  LA 

5.178221109 

LAMORTE 

5  MA 

5.100796052 

JOHNSON 

5  RD 

16.12806351 

JOHNSON 

5  LA 

8.327324423 

JOHNSON 

5  MA 

14.08356504 

SANTIAGUE 

5  RD 

17.03215583 

SANTIAGUE 

5  LA 

13.29241273 

SANTIAGUE 

5  MA 

14.41592043 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Scott  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  in  a  way  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  State 
Department  of  Education. 


135 


First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  68%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were  only 
nine  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT 
only  one  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Scott. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  68%  to  1.4%. 

Fourth,  of  the  51  flagged  classrooms  at  Scott,  49  (96%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  32  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  Scott. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Scott,  93%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  68%  of 
the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  test  security  was  lax  at  Scott.  People  were  allowed  to  come  in  and  out  of  the 
testing  coordinator's  office  while  the  CRCT  materials  were  inside,  and  black  paper  covered  the 
window  in  the  door. 

B.  Narrative 

Principal  Smith  and  Dr.  Juanessa  Booker  had  access  to  the  CRCT  materials.  The  tests 
were  stored  overnight  in  a  locked  closet  in  Smith's  office.  Dr.  Booker  took  the  tests  to  her  office 
during  the  day  for  distribution  and  collection.  The  tests  remained  in  Dr.  Booker's  office 
throughout  the  day  after  testing  ended.  A  teacher  testified  that  the  paraprofessional  assigned  to 
her  classroom,  Letrecia  Walker,  admitted  to  changing  answers  in  Booker's  office  at  Principal 
Smith's  direction. 

Booker's  cousin,  Antwan  Joseph,  was  the  math  coach  at  Scott  and  was  observed  in 
Booker's  office  where  the  tests  were  accessible  during  testing  week.  Several  witnesses  reported 
that  the  window  in  Booker's  door  was  covered  with  black  paper  during  the  2009  CRCT. 

APS  received  anonymous  calls  in  February  2010  reporting  cheating  at  Scott  during  2009 
and  other  years.  One  caller  reported  that  tests  were  erased  and  changed  in  Dr.  Booker's  office  in 
2009  and  that  her  window  was  covered  with  paper.  Another  caller  reported  that  in  2008  and 
2009,  teachers  covered  their  doors  with  paper  during  CRCT  testing.  In  April  2010,  APS  hired 
attorney  Penn  Payne,  to  conduct  an  external  investigation  into  the  charges  at  the  same  time  the 
Blue  Ribbon  Commission  was  investigating  Scott  and  other  schools  flagged  by  GOSA.  Payne 
interviewed  eight  people,  including  Booker  and  Principal  Smith,  who  denied  knowledge  of 
cheating  and  denied  that  any  windows  were  covered  with  paper.  Payne's  report,  issued  on  May 
25,  2010,  concluded  that  the  anonymous  tips  were  unsubstantiated. 


136 


C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 


1.  Edwina  Monique  Browne  (Special  Education) 

Monique  Browne  was  a  special  education  teacher  at  Scott  in  2009.  She  stated  that  her 
paraprofessional,  Letrecia  Walker,  admitted  to  changing  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  for 
Principal  Roxianne  Smith.  Principal  Smith  had  a  group  of  "favorites"  who  would  do  anything 
for  her,  including  Letrecia  Walker,  Testing  Coordinator  Juanessa  Booker,  and  math  coach 
Antwan  Joseph.  Principal  Smith  had  access  to  the  tests  because  they  were  secured  in  her  office 
closet,  and  Booker  also  had  access  to  the  tests  because  teachers  picked  them  up  and  returned 
them  to  Booker's  office.  People  came  in  and  out  of  Booker's  office  during  test  week. 

Browne  stated  she  felt  undue  pressure  by  administrators  to  get  students  to  score  higher 
on  the  CRCT.  She  was  surprised  that  her  students  scored  so  high  on  the  test,  and  said  that  third 
grade  teachers  were  also  surprised  by  their  students'  performance. 

Browne  said  the  general  discussion  around  school  was  that  there  was  cheating  and  that  it 
came  from  the  "top  down." 

2.  Cynthia  Butler  (Teacher) 

Cynthia  Butler  testified  that  she  saw  black  paper  placed  over  the  window  in  Booker's 
door.  Math  coach  Antwan  Joseph  and  Juanessa  Booker  are  cousins.  Joseph  was  in  Booker's 
office  many  times  during  testing.  Butler  stated  that  any  cheating  would  have  been  done  by 
administrators  because  teachers  had  no  time  or  opportunity  to  change  answers. 

3.  April  Graves  (Teacher) 

April  Graves  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  was  flagged  in  all  three  subjects  and 
stated  that  she  did  not  witness  her  students  making  the  amount  of  erasures  indicated  by  the 
GOSA  data. 

4.  Darin  Johnson  (Teacher) 

Darin  Johnson,  a  fifth  grade  teacher  flagged  in  all  subjects,  stated  students  passed  the 
CRCT  who  typically  performed  poorly  throughout  the  year  and  on  other  tests.  Students  who 
missed  school  and  did  not  turn  in  homework  passed  the  CRCT.  Johnson  stated  that  one  student 
considered  "mediocre"  had  one  of  the  highest  wrong-to-right  erasure  counts. 

5.  Bonita  Dorsey  (Teacher) 

Bonita  Dorsey,  a  flagged  second  grade  teacher,  stated  that  she  did  not  believe  her 
students  erased  as  much  as  the  GSOA  data  indicates. 

6.  Stacey  Carter  (Teacher) 

Stacey  Carter  heard  of  cheating  at  Scott.  She  denied  cheating  and  did  not  know  of 
anyone  who  cheated,  but  believed  something  must  have  happened  to  produce  the  data  reported. 


137 


7.        Lorrae  Walker  (Teacher) 


Lorrae  Walker  was  a  teacher  at  Scott  in  2009  who  tested  three  students  requiring  special 
accommodations.  Walker  said  it  was  inconceivable  that  they  could  have  managed  to  change  so 
many  answers  from  wrong  to  right  without  intervention,  as  one  student  could  not  read  and  the 
others  were  not  high  functioning.  Walker  believes  cheating  occurred  at  Scott  even  though  the 
cheaters  did  not  manage  to  have  Scott  meet  targets.  Walker  had  no  direct  knowledge  but 
believes  administrators  were  most  likely  involved  in  the  cheating. 

8.  Etoile  Green  (Teacher) 

Etoile  Green  saw  Antwan  Joseph  in  Juanessa  Booker's  office  where  tests  were  kept. 
Green  recalled  being  very  surprised  by  her  students'  high  scores. 

9.  Liza  Williams  (Teacher) 

Liza  Williams  saw  black  paper  over  the  window  of  Juanessa  Booker's  door  during  testing 
week.  She  stated  that  Booker,  Principal  Smith,  Antwan  Joseph,  and  Letrecia  Walker  were  a 
close-knit  group. 

10.  Erin  Quachenbush  (Teacher) 

Erin  Quackenbush  had  no  direct  evidence  but  believes  the  answers  were  changed  by 
Booker  because  she  had  access  to  the  tests. 

11.  Tonette  Hunter  (Teacher 's  Assistant) 

Tonette  Hunter  was  a  teacher's  assistant  at  Scott  in  2007.  Hunter  served  as  a  proctor 
during  the  2007  CRCT.  She  stated  that  on  the  Thursday  or  Friday  before  the  CRCT  was  to 
begin,  Principal  Roxianne  Smith  held  a  meeting  with  Ms.  Hunter  and  other  teacher's  assistants 
and  parapros.  Smith  told  them  that  they  needed  to  "do  all  they  could  to  make  sure  the  children 
pass"  the  CRCT.  As  she  spoke,  Principal  Smith  demonstrated  her  point  by  walking  among  the 
group,  looking  over  their  shoulders,  and  pointing  down  as  if  pointing  out  answers.  After  the 
meeting,  Hunter  said  to  Smith,  "Well,  this  is  not  going  to  help  the  children."  Principal  Smith 
replied  that  Hunter  would  not  be  helping  her  salary  if  she  did  not  cooperate.  Smith  also  told 
Hunter,  "You're  overstepping  your  boundaries." 

Hunter  testified  that  she  did  not  participate  in  prompting  or  assisting  students  during  the 
test  administration.  After  the  CRCT  concluded,  Principal  Smith  asked  Hunter  how  the  testing 
went.  Hunter  told  her,  "I  don't  know,  you're  going  to  have  to  wait  for  your  results." 

A  week  after  the  CRCT,  Hunter  telephoned  SRT  Executive  Director  Tamara  Cotman  to 
report  Principal  Smith' s  directive  to  prompt  students  during  testing,  and  other  concerns  she  had 
about  the  school.  The  next  day  Cotman  arrived  at  Scott  and  called  Hunter  into  a  meeting  with 
Principal  Smith.  Cotman  told  Hunter  that  if  she  "did  not  keep  her  mouth  shut"  and  kept  causing 
problems  at  Scott,  "you  will  be  gone."  Hunter  then  went  to  see  Dr.  Beverly  Hall  to  discuss  the 
cheating  allegations  and  other  concerns,  but  could  not  get  an  appointment.  A  woman  from  Dr. 
Hall's  office  met  with  Hunter  in  the  lobby  and  listened  to  her,  but  took  no  notes  during  the 


138 


meeting.  Hunter  felt  that  she  was  being  treated  as  if  she  were  a  "problem  employee."  She  heard 
nothing  from  the  Superintendent's  office  in  response  to  her  report.  Hunter  subsequently  spoke  to 
Atlanta  School  Board  member  LaChandra  Butler  Burks  about  the  incidents  at  Scott  Elementary, 
but  Ms.  Butler  Burks  did  not  respond  as  promised.  In  June  2010,  during  the  Blue  Ribbon 
Commission's  investigation,  Hunter  reported  the  2007  CRCT  cheating  allegations  to  the  APS 
hotline.  A  copy  of  Hunter's  hotline  complaint  is  included  as  Attachment  A. 

Ms.  Hunter  was  fired  in  May  2007,  allegedly  for  attendance  issues,  although  Hunter 
contends  her  termination  was  in  retaliation  for  her  complaints  about  cheating  and  other  matters 
she  reported  about  Scott  Elementary. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Roxianne  Smith  (Principal) 

Roxianne  Smith  came  to  Scott  as  principal  in  2006-2007.  She  deferred  to  Juanessa 
Booker's  experience  as  testing  coordinator  and  took  a  hands-off  role  other  than  monitoring  the 
halls.  The  tests  were  locked  in  Principal  Smith's  office  overnight,  and  Booker  took  them  to  her 
office  daily  for  distribution.  The  tests  remained  in  Booker's  office  during  the  day  "because 
that's  the  way  it  was  done"  before  Principal  Smith  came  to  Scott.  She  did  not  recall  whether 
there  was  paper  covering  the  window  of  Booker's  door,  and  was  unsure  whether  it  was 
permissible.  Principal  Smith  claimed  no  knowledge  of  people  gathering  in  Booker's  office  with 
the  tests  and  erasing  answers.  She  also  stated  that  if  anyone  said  that  Letrecia  Walker  changed 
answers  at  her  direction,  they  were  lying. 

Principal  Smith  was  interviewed  by  Penn  Payne  concerning  testing  irregularities  at  Scott 
in  2009.  Payne  did  not  inform  her  of  the  specific  allegations  and  Smith  did  not  inquire  into  the 
details  of  the  accusation.  When  the  report  of  Payne's  investigation  was  made  public,  Smith 
made  no  attempt  to  obtain  a  copy.  She  did  not  recall  whether  she  spoke  with  Booker  about 
Payne's  investigation  and  did  not  recall  asking  Booker  whether  she  had  been  interviewed. 

Scott  Elementary  School  did  not  meet  targets  under  Principal  Smith's  leadership.  She 
"did  not  know"  if  she  felt  pressure  to  meet  targets  or  whether  her  job  could  be  in  jeopardy, 
although  she  was  placed  on  a  PDP  twice,  in  part  for  failure  to  meet  targets.  She  was  evasive 
when  asked  if  she  had  spoken  with  anyone  about  this  investigation,  and  reluctant  to  name  those 
to  whom  she  had  spoken. 

Smith  denied  that  she  directed  Juanessa  Booker  to  change  answers.  She  was  not  aware  if 
teachers  had  the  opportunity  to  change  answers  in  the  classrooms.  When  asked  repeatedly  if  she 
believed  students  had  made  the  erasures  on  their  own,  she  only  stated  each  time  that  they  were 
the  people  "who  had  pencils  and  erasers"  during  the  test. 

2.  Letrecia  Walker  (Paraprofessional) 

Letrecia  Walker  was  a  paraprofessional  for  Monique  Browne.  She  denied  that  she 
changed  answers  at  Principal  Smith's  direction  and  denied  being  in  Juanessa  Booker's  office 
with  the  tests.  She  heard  that  Booker's  door  was  covered  with  black  paper. 


139 


Letrecia  Walker  stated  that  Principal  Smith  called  teachers  and  paraprofessionals 
separately  into  her  office  after  learning  about  the  flagged  classes.  Smith  questioned  her  about  the 
testing  and  she  felt  that  Smith  was  trying  to  intimidate  her. 

3.  Dr.  Juanessa  Booker  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Dr.  Juanessa  Booker  was  the  Instructional  Liaison  Specialist  and  Testing  Coordinator  at 
Scott  in  2009.  She  was  aware  of  allegations  she  changed  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  denied 
erasing  any  answers.  Students  should  have  erased  stray  marks  but  if  tests  were  turned  in  with 
stray  marks,  they  could  be  erased  by  teachers.  Booker  denied  there  was  paper  covering  her  door 
and  denied  she  was  inside  her  office  with  test  booklets.  Booker  claimed  the  tests  were  kept 
locked  in  Principal  Smith's  office.  Both  she  and  Principal  Smith  had  the  key. 

Booker  denied  cheating  or  knowledge  of  cheating.  She  felt  the  CRCT  scores  accurately 
reflected  the  students'  performance  and  was  not  surprised  by  the  results. 

4.  Antwan  Joseph  (Math  Facilitator) 

Antwan  Joseph  was  the  math  coach  at  Scott  in  2009.  Joseph  denied  cheating  on  the 
CRCT.  During  the  2009  CRCT,  Joseph  tested  small  groups  of  special  education  students  and 
administered  makeup  tests.  He  and  Testing  Coordinator  Juanessa  Booker  are  first  cousins  and 
worked  together  previously  at  Towns  Elementary.  Joseph,  Booker,  and  reading  facilitator 
Cynthia  Butler  were  considered  part  of  Principal  Smith's  "administrative  team."  He  and  Butler 
assisted  Booker  with  distributing  and  collecting  the  tests,  which  Joseph  stated  were  kept  in  the 
lounge/parent  center  across  the  hall  from  Dr.  Booker's  office.  Joseph  thought  that  the  custodian, 
Principal  Smith  and  Dr.  Booker  had  keys  to  the  lounge.  He  did  not  recall  the  window  being 
covered  with  paper  and  believed  that  the  door  to  the  lounge  was  usually  open.  Joseph  stated  that 
the  tests  were  only  in  Booker's  office  when  they  were  initially  sorted  and  when  they  were  packed 
up  to  go  back  to  the  Brewer  Center.  He  did  not  believe  that  the  tests  were  stored  in  the 
principal's  office  in  2009,  but  was  not  certain. 

When  asked  why  people  would  report  that  he  and  Booker  were  seen  together  in  Booker's 
office  during  testing,  Joseph  first  stated  that  it  would  not  be  unusual  for  people  to  see  them 
together  because  the  "administrative  team"  worked  together  closely.  He  did  not  know  why 
anyone  would  state  that  he  and  Booker  spent  "extra"  time  together  in  her  office  during  testing, 
because  she  was  very  busy.  Later  Joseph  admitted  that  there  were  times  when  he  was  with 
Booker  in  her  office  with  the  tests.  He  did  not  elaborate.  He  denied  that  Booker's  office  window 
was  covered  with  paper. 

Joseph  knew  there  were  allegations  about  cheating  at  Scott,  but  did  not  know  the  details. 
He  was  surprised  to  learn  during  his  interview  that  his  cousin,  Dr.  Booker,  had  been  investigated 
by  Penn  Payne  concerning  the  cheating  allegations.  Although  they  were  "very  close,"  Booker 
had  not  informed  him  of  the  Payne  investigation. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Testing  Coordinator  Juanessa  Booker  erased  and  changed  student 
answer  sheets  with  Antwan  Joseph  in  her  office  after  testing  concluded.   Principal  Roxianne 


140 


Smith  directed  others  to  cheat.  We  believe  teachers  and  proctors  followed  Principal  Smith's 
directive  to  cheat,  but  do  not  have  sufficient  evidence  to  determine  which  teachers. 

Principal  Roxianne  Smith  failed  in  her  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that 
Principal  Smith  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


141 


Report*  1 1 406057-1 


ATLANTA  EDUCATION  FUND 


Page  1  of  2 


Ethics  and  Comptiance  Reporting 
General  Information 


Caller  Name:  TONETTE  HUNTER 

Type:  Former  Employee 
Title:  TEACHER  ASSISTANT 
Phorw:  (404)91 4-281 1 
Best  Time  to  Call:  BETWEEN  3  AM  AND  3  PM 

Emaif:  fonichunter@hotfnaiI.cQin 


Client  Name:  Atlanta  Education  Fund 

Location  U:  SCOTT  ELEMENTARY  ! 
DBA:  ATLANTA  EDUCATION  FUND  (C  I 

Address:  HOLLOWAY  ROAD  j 

City,State(Zip:  ATLANTA  -  GA  | 

Country;  USA  ' 

Phone:  ! 


[Report  #:  114060574 
Priority: 
Trans  #:  1 
Kpt  Date:  06/23/2010 
Time:  01:15PM 
Origin;  Phone  Calf 


Summary  Information 


-1 


WHO: 


WHAT: 


WHEN: 


WHERE: 


Caller,  TONETTE  HUNTER,  reported  ROXANNE  SMITH  and  BEVERLY  HALL. 
Cheating  on  Standardized  Tests 

ONGOING  SINCE  03/2007,  EXACT  DATE  UNKNOWN 
AT  THE  LOCATION 


 Incident  Description 


5/23/2010  t:15:00  PM  -  Original  Call 

Caller,  HUNTER,  reported  ongoing  since  03/2007,  exact  date  unknown,  during  testing  time  for  the  Criteria  Reference  Tests, 
Principal,  Roxanne  SMITH,  advised  all  Teacher's  Assistants  to  guide  Students  to  the  rtgfit  answers  when  they  were  taking  this 
test,  HUNTER  stated  that  when  she  worked  at  this  location.  Superintendent,  Beverly  HALL,  ignored  requests  for  help  regarding 
this  issue. 

HUNTER  would  like  for  HALL  and  SMITH  removed  from  their  positions  within  (he  school  system  because  HUNTER  feels  that 
!  HALL  and  SMITH  are  not  qualified  to  oversee  t!ie  education  of  children. 


How  does  the  caller  know  about  the  incident?:  Witnessed 


What  documentation  is  available?:  none 


Involved  Parties 


Reported  Individuals; 

Name:  BEVERLY  HALL 

Title:  SUPERINTENDENT 


Name:  ROXANNE  SMITH 
Title:  PRINCIPAL 


Management  Notified:  NO 
Involved/Aware  Parties  :  NO 


Supplemental  Information 


How  does  the  ealfer  know  about  hotline:  Poster 

Interviewer  Observations: 

Additional  Information 

Have  you  reported  this  incident  to  Atlanta  Public 
Schools,  the  Atlanta  Board  of  Education,  Georgia 
Department  of  Education  or  other  organization? 

Which  organization  did  you  report  it  to? 


YES 


THE  OFFICE  OF  BEVERLY  HALL 


GOSA  APS_AEF.EL.0ISS17 


142 


Report*  1 14060574  ATLANTA  EDUCATION  FUND  Page  2  or  2 


Is  (he  issue  you're  reporting  related  to  a  specific  grade  NO 
or  class? 

What  is  your  relationship  to  the  school  or  school  PREVIOUS  EMPLOYEE 

system?  (i.g.,  parent,  teacher,  concerned  citizen,  etc,} 


Client  Instructions 


The  catler  has  predicted  bis/her  name  and/or  contact  intorrnattcrr  indicating  an  interest  in  discussing  this  matter  with  a  company  representative 
Conditions 

Th*  inform  a  I  ran  contatnecf  fn  Iftis  repot  was  provided  by  3  third  party  source.  The  Network,  Inc.  does  not  verify  th«  accuracy  or  trie  completeness  of  the 
inform  a  I  ton  contained  In  Ihis  report,  and  tber_fo(e,  cafinot  guarantee  j1&  accuracy  or  oompletenasa,   _______-__,,  


f  you  have  questions,  concerns  or  updafes  such  as  escalation  and/cr  dissemination  Instructions  relative  to  our  service  or  this 
linckfenl  report  please  corilact  us  a1  ''cfisnjcQmniuntcafiQn^lnwInc.cQm.''  _  _  ________ 


GOSA  APS  AEF  EL_f)l5S|8 


143 


DEERWOOD  ACADEMY 


3070  Fairburn  Road  Principal:  Dr.  Lisa  Smith  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis- Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  3033 1  Testing  Coordinator:  Lavonia  Ferrell 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  at  Deerwood  Academy  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  the  summer  of  2008. 
Thirty-seven  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  One  person 
confessed  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  the  spring  of  2009  and  the  summer  of  2008.  Cheating  at 
Deerwood  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions,  and  witness 
testimony.  Principal  Smith  knew  of  cheating  in  2009  and  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

47.8 

8.6 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

43 

7 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

21(15) 

6(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.5 

3.8 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

15.3 

4.4 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3 

3.4 

144 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


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Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

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III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

Several  facts  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Deerwood  Academy  was  not  managed  to  ensure 
that  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  47.8%  for  the  2009  CRCT.   With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  from  47.8%  to  8.6%. 


145 


Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  five  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Deerwood. 

Fourth,  of  the  43  flagged  classrooms  at  Deerwood,  26  (60%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  this  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Deerwood. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Deerwood,  70%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  47.8% 
of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  teacher  Margaret  Merkerson  says  that  she  and  Testing  Coordinator  Lavonia  Ferrell 
changed  student  answer  sheets  during  the  summer  2008  CRCT  retest,  and  the  2009  CRCT. 
Assistant  Principal  Tabeeka  Jordan  knew  of  and  approved  this  cheating  in  2008  and  2009. 
Principal  Lisa  Smith  knew  of  and  approved  this  cheating  in  2009. 

B.  Narrative 

In  July  2008,  students  from  five  schools  came  to  Deerwood  for  the  CRCT  math  retest. 
This  was  the  first  year  that  the  summer  CRCT  scores  would  count  towards  AYP.  Deerwood 
Assistant  Principal  Tabeeka  Jordan  was  in  charge  of  testing  and  asked  Lavonia  Ferrell  to  be 
Testing  Coordinator.  Ferrell  asked  retired  teacher  Margaret  Merkerson  to  assist  with  organizing 
the  testing  materials.  Tabeeka  Jordan  and  Lavonia  Ferrell  orchestrated  a  scheme  to  ensure  that 
the  school  made  AYP.  Jordan  pulled  several  Deerwood  students  out  of  class  and  had  Merkerson 
test  them  separately,  although  Merkerson  had  not  been  trained  to  administer  the  test.  After 
testing  was  over,  Ferrell  asked  Merkerson  to  assist  her  in  erasing  and  changing  test  answer  sheets 
of  Deerwood  students,  using  the  answer  keys  Ferrell  made.  The  window  on  the  conference  room 
door  was  covered  with  paper  while  Ferrell  and  Merkerson  changed  answer  sheets  in  the 
conference  room  adjoining  the  principal's  office.  Assistant  Principal  Jordan  came  in  and  out  of 
the  room  and  witnessed  their  actions. 

The  results  from  the  summer  of  2008  CRCT  retest  showed  improbable  gains  for 
Deerwood  students.  This  resulted  in  a  state  investigation  and  an  investigation  done  by  APS. 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Deerwood,  Jordan  again  asked  Lavonia  Ferrell  to  serve  as  testing 
coordinator.  Merkerson  had  a  temporary  assignment  at  Deerwood  and  also  assisted  Ferrell. 
Merkerson  and  Ferrell  erased  and  changed  student  answer  sheets  in  the  principal's  conference 
room  for  several  days,  just  as  they  did  in  2008.  Ferrell  prepared  answer  keys  for  various  versions 
of  the  tests.  Ferrell  sometimes  selected  answer  sheets  of  students  she  knew  were  proficient  in 
math  to  prepare  those  answer  keys.  Jordan  came  in  and  out  of  the  room  and  witnessed  the 
erasing.  Principal  Lisa  Smith  also  came  in  and  out  from  her  adjoining  office  while  erasing  was 
in  progress. 


146 


C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 


1.       Margaret  Merkerson  (Teacher) 

Margaret  Merkerson  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  2008  and  2009  CRCT. 

Tn  2008,  Merkerson  was  a  substitute  teacher  at  Fickett  Elementary.  Tn  July  2008,  she  was 
asked  by  Lavonia  Ferrell  to  assist  with  the  administration  of  the  summer  2008  CRCT  math  retest 
to  be  given  at  Deerwood.  Ferrell  was  the  testing  coordinator  at  Deerwood.  Jordan  supervised 
this  testing.  Working  as  an  unpaid  volunteer,  Merkerson  assisted  Ferrell  in  organizing  the  tests  in 
the  conference  room  that  adjoined  the  principal's  office.  Ferrell  told  Merkerson  that  Jordan 
wanted  to  ensure  Deerwood  made  AYP.  Merkerson  and  Ferrell  sat  at  the  conference  room  table 
and  changed  answers  from  wrong  to  right,  using  test  keys  that  Ferrell  made.  Students  from  five 
different  schools  were  tested.  Merkerson  thinks  that  they  only  changed  answers  of  Deerwood 
students,  but  was  not  certain  because  Ferrell  selected  the  answer  sheets  to  be  changed.  A  piece 
of  paper  covered  the  window  on  the  door  that  led  into  the  hall.  Jordan  came  in  and  out  of  the 
conference  room  and  saw  the  erasing.  Jordan  asked  Merkerson  to  administer  the  test  to 
Deerwood  students  she  pulled  out  of  class,  although  Merkerson  had  not  received  the  required 
training.  Merkerson  recalled  meeting  Principal  Smith  in  summer  2008  when  Smith  was  at  the 
school.  Smith  was  not  acting  as  the  principal  of  Deerwood  during  the  summer  session. 

In  2009,  Merkerson  worked  at  Deerwood  as  a  long-term  substitute.  During  the  2009 
CRCT,  she  served  as  a  proctor  for  Mr.  Warmack's  fifth  grade  class.  She  assisted  Testing 
Coordinator  Lavonia  Ferrell  in  Principal  Smith's  conference  room  by  erasing  and  changing 
answer  sheets  for  three  or  four  days,  just  as  they  had  done  the  previous  summer.  Ferrell  prepared 
answer  keys  and  the  window  of  the  door  leading  into  the  hall  was  covered  with  paper.  Ferrell 
sometimes  complained  that  Merkerson  erased  "too  slowly."  The  first  group  of  answer  sheets 
Merkerson  changed  were  from  Warmack's  class.  She  does  not  think  that  she  or  Ferrell  changed 
answers  of  first  and  second  grade  students. 

Principal  Smith  and  Jordan  were  aware  of  the  cheating.  Both  came  in  and  out  of  the 
conference  room  at  various  times  while  answers  were  being  erased  and  changed.  The  test 
booklets  and  answer  sheets  were  stacked  on  the  table  in  plain  view.  Principal  Smith  would  walk 
in  from  her  office  and  ask  how  they  were  doing,  as  she  grabbed  a  snack  and  returned  to  her 
office.  Jordan  would  come  in  more  often  and  sometimes  stayed  and  talked  awhile.  Merkerson 
and  Ferrell  did  not  stop  erasing  when  Jordan  or  Smith  came  in  and  did  not  try  to  hide  the  answer 
sheets,  which  were  on  the  table. 

Merkerson  is  remorseful  for  what  she  did  in  2008  and  2009.  She  was  shocked  to  learn 
after  the  April  2009  CRCT  that  an  investigation  was  being  launched  concerning  the  results  of  the 
2008  retest.  When  attorney  Penn  Payne  began  her  investigation  in  June  2009,  Merkerson 
received  calls  from  Ferrell  and  Jordan,  who  tried  to  convince  her  that  she  had  not  actually 
administered  the  test  to  anyone  in  summer  2008. 

We  monitored  several  conversations  between  Margaret  Merkerson  and  Lavonia  Ferrell. 
During  one  discussion,  Merkerson  told  Ferrell  that  she  was  thinking  about  telling  the  truth  to  the 
Governor's  investigators  about  being  in  the  room  erasing  answers  with  Ferrell.  Lavonia  Ferrell 


147 


told  Merkerson  that  they  had  done  nothing  wrong  and  warned  her  not  to  tell  what  they  had  done, 
unless  she  wanted  to  be  "locked  up."  In  other  conversations,  Ferrell  stated  that  investigators  had 
no  evidence.  Merkerson  asked  Ferrell  if  they  should  both  just  tell  the  truth  to  which  Ferrell 
responded  that  if  they  did  they  might  get  in  trouble  for  perjury. 

2.  Tabitha  Martin  (Reading  Facilitator) 

Tabitha  Martin  was  certain  there  was  cheating  on  the  CRCT  because  she  had  access  to 
students'  test  scores  and  knew  that  some  students  who  could  not  read  were  scoring  at  high  levels. 
The  students'  scores  did  not  match  their  classroom  performance.  She  recalled  that  Jordan  was  in 
charge  of  the  summer  2008  CRCT  testing,  and  afterward  there  were  a  lot  of  good  grades  and 
students  had  vastly  improved  test  scores.  She  noticed  that  during  testing  in  2009,  Jordan,  Ferrell, 
and  Merkerson  would  stay  late.  Martin  heard  some  teachers  used  voice  inflection  when  reading 
questions,  and  that  hand  signals  were  being  used. 

Tabitha  Martin  said  the  administration  knew  from  the  data  how  many  students  needed  to 
pass  the  CRCT.  Teachers  would  be  told  how  many  students  they  needed  to  exceed  expectations 
and  were  asked  how  many  they  thought  would  pass.  Teachers  were  asked  how  they  were  going 
to  get  the  students  to  pass  the  test. 

3.  Kristy  McDowell  (Teacher) 

Kristy  McDowell  had  a  student  who  could  not  read.  The  student  passed  the  reading 
section  of  the  CRCT.  She  knew  other  students  who  should  have  had  lower  test  scores. 
McDowell  denied  any  involvement  in  cheating. 

4.  Amy  Lowman  (Teacher) 

Amy  Lowman  recounted  discussions  of  cheating  she  heard.  She  heard  that  Kristy 
McDowell  used  voice  inflection,  Zanetta  Hornbuckle  gave  answers,  and  Betty  Jean  Peak  taught 
students  to  listen  to  her  pauses  for  cues.  Lowman  heard  that  during  the  Summer  2008  retest, 
Tabeeka  Jordan  pulled  some  Deerwood  students  out  to  be  tested  separately.  Lowman  was 
shocked  that  her  classes  were  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  since  her  students  scored 
so  low. 

5.  Abigail  Currens  (Teacher) 

Abigail  Currens  was  an  Early  Intervention  Program  teacher  in  2009  and  taught  math  and 
reading  to  fifth  graders.  Currens  heard  several  discussions  of  cheating  on  tests.  Students  taking 
the  ITBS  test  told  her  that  they  had  seen  the  test  questions  before  in  Rita  Lawrence's  class. 

6.  Mary  Mallory  (Teacher) 

Mary  Mallory  was  a  fourth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  was  surprised  that  one  particular 
student  who  typically  scored  in  the  600  range,  made  over  800  on  the  CRCT. 


148 


7.        Betty  Jean  Peak 


Betty  Jean  Peak  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  at  Deerwood  in  2008.  She  stated  there  were 
students  in  her  class  who  could  not  read.  She  identified  specific  students  who  did  not  pass  the 
spring  2008  CRCT  and  had  to  attend  summer  school.  Although  Peak  knew  that  those  students 
did  not  have  the  ability  to  pass  the  summer  2008  CRCT,  they  were  promoted  to  sixth  grade  and 
some  passed  the  CRCT  by  2  to  3  points.  Peak  denied  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Lisa  Smith  (Principal) 

Lisa  Smith  stated  that  she  saw  no  cheating  at  Deerwood  and  no  one  reported  cheating  to 
her.  Principal  Smith  felt  that  she  had  been  wrongly  targeted  for  cheating  during  the  Summer 
2008  CRCT.  She  said  she  was  not  the  principal  in  residence  during  the  2008  summer  session. 
She  felt  she  had  been  referred  to  the  Professional  Standards  Commission  as  part  of  a  witch  hunt. 
Smith  was  temporarily  removed  as  principal  of  Deerwood  after  the  2009  CRCT,  but  was 
reinstated  in  June  2010. 

Dr.  Smith  admitted  that  paper  covered  the  window  in  the  door  of  her  conference  room  in 
2008  and  2009.  The  window  was  uncovered  at  the  recommendation  of  the  PSC. 

Principal  Smith  was  placed  on  a  PDP  in  2008  for  low  student  achievement.  She  said  she 
only  told  her  administrative  staff  she  was  on  a  PDP.  She  admitted  putting  Jordan  on  a  PDP  in 
2008  but  claimed  it  was  for  behavioral  issues. 

With  regard  to  the  CRCT,  Principal  Smith  said  that  she  never  touched  CRCT  materials 
and  never  went  into  the  classrooms  during  testing.  Smith  did  not  feel  pressure  to  meet  targets 
but  also  did  not  like  the  feeling  she  and  her  staff  experienced  at  the  Convocation  when  the 
school's  targets  were  not  met.  Deerwood  did  not  make  targets  or  AYP  in  2008,  but  did  make 
AYP  in  2009  and  2010.  Principal  Smith  denied  ever  directing  anyone  to  cheat  or  change 
answers  on  the  2009  CRCT,  and  denied  any  knowledge  or  involvement  in  cheating.  She  did  not 
understand  how  it  would  be  possible  for  testing  administrators  to  make  answer  keys  or  breach 
the  security  measures. 

Smith  was  informed  by  SRT-1  Executive  Director  Sharon  Davis- Williams  in  early  2009 
that  inquiries  were  being  made  into  Deerwood' s  summer  2008  results.  Testing  protocols  were  to 
be  tightened  for  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal  Smith  requested  that  Ferrell  return  as  the  testing 
coordinator.  She  denied  ever  seeing  anyone  erasing  and  changing  answers  in  her  conference 
room.  Anyone  claiming  they  changed  answers  in  the  conference  room  was  lying. 

2.  Lavonia  Ferrell  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Lavonia  Ferrell  was  questioned  about  allegations  of  cheating  and  testing  improprieties  on 
the  2008  Summer  Retest  and  2009  CRCT.  She  had  no  information  to  provide.  Ferrell  was 
informed  that  investigators  monitored  telephone  calls  between  her  and  others.  Investigators 
played  a  portion  of  one  recording  to  show  her  that  calls  had  been  recorded.  Ferrell  reiterated  that 
she  had  no  information  to  provide. 


149 


3.        Tabeeka  Jordan 


Jordan  was  suspended  from  APS  from  August  2009  until  June  2010,  and  since  that  time 
has  been  on  medical  leave  pending  hearings  into  allegations  of  cheating  at  Deerwood.  Jordan 
denied  any  cheating  or  knowledge  of  cheating  at  Deerwood  during  the  summer  of  2008  and  the 
spring  of  2009.  She  denied  knowledge  of  Lavonia  Ferrell  and  Margaret  Merkerson  erasing  and 
changing  answers  in  the  principal's  conference  room  during  either  test  administration.  She  did 
not  know  how  they  would  have  had  the  opportunity  to  cheat.  Jordan  claimed  she  did  not  go  in 
and  out  of  the  conference  room  except  when  the  tests  were  being  distributed.  She  stated  that  if 
she  had  witnessed  erasing  she  would  have  questioned  what  was  happening.  Jordan  admitted  that 
Merkerson  tested  a  small  group  of  Deerwood  students,  but  maintained  that  Merkerson  had  been 
trained  by  Ferrell  to  administer  testing. 

Jordan  admitted  she  was  friends  with  Ferrell  and  Principal  Smith,  and  had  spoken  with 
both  of  them  concerning  their  interviews  during  this  investigation.  She  did  not  believe  that 
Ferrell  participated  in  cheating  and  believed  that  Merkerson  had  "memory  problems."  Anyone 
who  claimed  that  Jordan  directed  or  facilitated  cheating  was  lying. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

Teachers  say  they  were  pressured  by  Principal  Smith  to  meet  targets.  Several  were  placed 
on  a  PDP  for  not  meeting  performance  standards.  It  was  important  to  Principal  Smith  to  "make 
the  floor"  each  year. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Lavonia  Ferrell  and  Margaret  Merkerson  erased  and  changed  student 
answer  sheets  during  the  2008  summer  retest  CRCT  and  the  spring  2009  CRCT.  Tabeeka  Jordan 
directed  and  witnessed  the  cheating  in  2008  and  2009.  Principal  Lisa  Smith  witnessed  the 
cheating  in  2009. 

It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Smith  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


150 


HUMPHRIES  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


3029  Humphries  Drive  Principal:  Donald  Clark  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30354  Testing  Coordinator:  Christi  Davis-Langston 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Humphries  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 
Fifty  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  people  confessed  to 
cheating.  Cheating  at  Humphries  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms, 
confessions,  witness  testimony,  and  Principal  Donald  Clark's  refusal  to  answer  questions  about 
cheating.  Clark  and  Testing  Coordinator  Christi  Davis-Langston  knew  or  should  have  known  of 
the  cheating  in  2009  and  in  other  years.  Principal  Clark  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2(11(1 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

46.7 

10.4 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

21 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

8(7) 

3(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

9.0 

5.4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

21.4 

7.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.7 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

POWERS 

1  RD 

3.509111489 

POWERS 

1  LA 

4.586102472 

POWERS 

1  MA 

4.260461109 

BUTLER 

2  MA 

5.190621156 

SEALS 

2  RD 

4.228229406 

SEALS 

2  LA 

3.880424229 

MCNAMEE 

3  RD 

9.624865356 

MCNAMEE 

3  LA 

6.422355453 

MCNAMEE 

3  MA 

3.104472432 

PASIVE 

3  RD 

7.025927454 

PASIVE 

3  LA 

6.658610242 

PASIVE 

3  MA 

4.300672458 

ABELLA 

4  RD 

13.25179281 

ABELLA 

4  LA 

21.43438688 

ABELLA 

4  MA 

13.12665736 

AHMED 

4  RD 

16.64351795 

AHMED 

4  LA 

8.056040448 

AHMED 

4  MA 

10.84091485 

TERRY 

4  RD 

15.55531856 

TERRY 

4  LA 

12.53867805 

TERRY 

4  MA 

15.68865008 

151 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Humphries  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  was  46.7%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  25  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  that  year. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  eight  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Humphries  Elementary 
School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  46.7%  to  10.4%. 

Fourth,  of  the  21  flagged  classrooms  at  Humphries  Elementary  School,  14  (67%  of  the 
total)  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  eight  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard 
deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  this  school. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Humphries,  71.4%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
46.7%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Sixth,  at  least  three  proctors  asked  to  be  assigned  other  duties  because  they  witnessed 
cheating  by  teachers  on  the  1TB S  test  or  the  CRCT.  Two  teachers  admitted  to  cheating  on  the 
2009  CRCT. 

Last,  Principal  Clark  knew  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT,  and  attempted  to 
cover  up  the  misconduct.  Lillian  Lockhart  told  Clark  she  witnessed  cheating.  Mr.  Clark  told 
her,  "If  you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  won't  have  to  report  anything." 

B.  Narrative 

The  fourth  grade  at  Humphries  was  compartmentalized,  meaning  that  one  teacher  taught 
science  and  social  studies,  one  taught  math,  and  one  taught  language  arts  and  reading.  The 
fourth  grade  teachers  were  instructed  by  Principal  Clark  to  walk  between  each  other's 
homerooms  during  the  2009  CRCT.  While  walking  in  each  other's  classrooms,  Wendy  Ahmed, 
Ingrid  Abella,  and  Lisa  Terry  prompted  students,  and  verbally  gave  answers  or  hand  signals  to 
indicate  the  correct  answers.  Two  proctors,  Demetrius  Carroll  and  Adrienne  Woods,  witnessed 


152 


testing  violations  by  Wendy  Ahmed,  Ingrid  Abella,  or  Lisa  Terry  during  testing  in  2009  and 
asked  to  be  removed  as  proctors.  Lillian  Lockhart  also  witnessed  Wendy  Ahmed  giving  hand 
signals  to  students  during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT  and  asked  to  be  removed  as  a 
proctor.  She  was  removed.  No  action  was  taken  by  the  testing  coordinator  or  Principal  Clark  to 
report  this  misconduct. 

In  2010,  Principal  Clark  informed  the  teachers  at  a  meeting  that  GBI  agents  would  be 
coming  to  the  school  to  investigate  allegations  of  cheating.  Lillian  Lockhart  approached 
Principal  Clark  and  told  him  what  she  saw  in  2009,  and  told  him  she  would  tell  the  investigators 
what  she  saw.  Principal  Clark  asked  Lockhart  why  she  was  reporting  this  to  him  now,  and  stated 
"if  you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  don't  have  to  report  anything."  Lockhart  told  Principal  Clark 
that  she  only  witnessed  hand  signals,  not  erasing.  The  next  day  Principal  Clark  called  Lockhart 
to  his  office  and  asked  her  if  she  wanted  to  talk  about  what  she  saw,  but  again  cautioned  her,  "If 
you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  won't  have  to  report  anything."  Confused  and  fearful,  Lockhart 
told  him  she  had  nothing  to  report. 

Lockhart  later  told  Testing  Coordinator  Christi  Davis-Langston  what  she  witnessed  in 
2009,  and  that  she  had  relayed  the  same  to  Principal  Clark.  Davis-Langston  went  to  Principal 
Clark  and  relayed  what  Lockhart  told  her.  Principal  Clark  separately  instructed  Lockhart  and 
Davis-Langston  not  to  discuss  the  matter  with  anyone.  Lockhart  ignored  this  instruction  and 
discussed  the  matter  further  with  Davis-Langston,  and  both  went  to  Principal  Clark's  office. 
Principal  Clark  became  angry  and  berated  them  for  refusing  to  follow  his  instruction  of  silence. 

Later,  Principal  Clark  told  Lockhart  that  he  would  have  to  file  an  OIR  report  on  the 
incident.  Clark  instructed  Lockhart  to  prepare  a  statement  about  what  she  witnessed  in  2009. 
She  prepared  a  statement  but  left  out  the  majority  of  the  details,  because  she  believed  that  is  what 
Principal  Clark  wanted  her  to  do. 

APS  sent  Penn  Payne  to  investigate  the  matter.  Lockhart  testified  that  Ms.  Payne's 
questions  seemed  designed  to  make  her  feel  as  she  were  betraying  her  friends  and  her  school. 
Lockhart  admitted  she  minimized  the  cheating  she  witnessed  to  Payne. 

C.        Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Joanne  Carroll  (Proctor) 

Joanne  Carroll  witnessed  Maria  Pasive  prompt  students  during  the  administration  of  the 
2009  ITBS  test,  and  requested  to  be  removed  as  her  proctor  for  the  2009  CRCT.  We  attempted 
to  interview  Maria  Pasive  on  multiple  occasions,  but  did  not  locate  her. 

2.  Adrienne  Woods  (Proctor) 

Adrienne  Woods  witnessed  "irregularities"  on  the  2008  CRCT,  and  requested  to  be 
assigned  to  a  different  classroom  for  the  2009  CRCT.  In  2009  many  of  the  fourth  grade  students 
could  only  read  on  a  second  grade  level,  but  exceeded  expectations  on  the  CRCT. 


153 


3.        Tonia  Clark  (Proctor) 


Tonia  Clark  admitted  to  prompting  students  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  witnessed  Lisa 
Terry  instructing  students  to  change  answers  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  also  saw  Wendy 
Ahmed  verbally  giving  students  the  answers  on  the  test. 

4.  Lillian  Lockhart  (Proctor) 

Lillian  Lockhart  witnessed  Wendy  Ahmed  giving  students  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT  by 
giving  hand  signals  while  standing  in  front  of  the  classroom.  After  witnessing  Wendy  Ahmed 
cheating,  Lockhart  requested  a  new  assignment  for  the  remainder  of  the  2009  CRCT  from 
Testing  Coordinator  Christi  Davis-Langston.  Lockhart  did  not  provide  a  reason  for  this  request, 
nor  did  she  report  the  cheating  she  witnessed. 

Later,  in  2010,  Principal  Clark  informed  Humphries'  teachers  that  investigators  would  be 
coming  to  the  school  with  regard  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Lockhart  went  to  Clark  and 
disclosed  the  cheating  she  witnessed,  and  told  Principal  Clark  she  would  tell  the  investigators 
what  she  saw.  Clark  asked  Lockhart  why  she  failed  to  report  the  incident  in  2009,  and  said,  "If 
you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  won't  have  to  report  anything."  Lockhart  told  Principal  Clark  that 
she  only  witnessed  Wendy  Ahmed  making  hand  gestures  and  not  any  erasing.  The  next  day 
Clark  again  called  Lockhart  to  his  office  and  told  her,  "If  you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  won't 
have  to  report  anything."  Lockhart  told  Principal  Clark  that  she  had  nothing  to  report. 

Clark  instructed  Lockhart  not  to  speak  with  anyone  about  the  incident  but  she  spoke  with 
Davis-Langston,  who  in  turn  spoke  with  Clark.  He  called  them  both  to  his  office  and  berated 
them  for  talking  to  one  another  when  he  instructed  them  not  to.  He  then  told  Lockhart  that  he 
would  have  to  report  the  incident  to  OIR,  and  instructed  her  to  write  a  statement  about  what  she 
witnessed.  Lockhart  wrote  a  statement  and  intentionally  left  out  most  of  the  details  because  she 
believed  Principal  Clark  wanted  her  to  leave  out  many  details. 

APS  sent  attorney  Penn  Payne  to  question  Lockhart.  Lockhart  said  that  Penn  Payne's 
questions  were  designed  to  make  her  feel  as  if  she  were  betraying  her  friends  and  her  school. 
She  minimized  the  cheating  she  saw  in  response  to  the  pressure  she  felt  from  Penn  Payne. 

During  the  2010  CRCT,  Lockhart  was  assigned  to  monitor  a  kindergarten  class  and  was 
not  allowed  to  proctor  the  CRCT.  Lockhart  believes  she  was  placed  in  a  kindergarten  class  in 
retaliation  for  reporting  the  testing  violation  in  2009. 

5.  Demetrius  Carroll  (Proctor) 

Demetrius  Carroll  heard  that  Lisa  Terry,  Wendy  Ahmed,  and  Ingrid  Abella  cheated  on 
the  CRCT.  During  the  2008  CRCT,  Carroll  witnessed  a  student  copy  from  another  student's 
answer  sheet  in  Abella' s  classroom.  He  reported  the  violation  to  Abella.  She  did  not  seem 
surprised  and  moved  the  student's  desk  a  few  inches  away  from  the  other  student.  Carroll  asked 
for  a  different  proctoring  assignment  because  of  this  incident  and  because  he  heard  that  Abella 
prompted  students  on  the  CRCT.  He  reported  the  violation  to  then-testing  coordinator  Yolanda 
Faison. 


154 


6.        Tia  Brown  (Proctor) 


Tia  Brown  saw  Ingrid  Abella  approach  many  students'  desks  during  the  administration  of 
the  2009  CRCT,  but  she  could  not  tell  what  Ingrid  Abella  was  doing. 

7.        Caw  anna  Powers  (Teacher) 

Cawanna  Powers  heard  that  the  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grades  erased  and  changed 
students'  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Donald  Clark  (Principal) 

Donald  Clark  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating,  and  does  not  believe  anyone  cheated  at 
Humphries. 

2.  Christi  Davis-Langston  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Christi  Davis-Langston  testified  that  Lillian  Lockhart  did  not  report  the  cheating 
described  in  Section  IV(C)(4)  until  March  of  2010.  She  immediately  reported  this  to  Principal 
Clark,  and  prepared  the  statement  included  as  Attachment  A. 

Davis-Langston  said  she  was  surprised  at  how  well  the  students  of  Wendy  Ahmed,  Lisa 
Terry,  and  Ingrid  Abbella  performed  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

3.  Wendy  Ahmed  (Teacher) 

Wendy  Ahmed  denied  making  hand  signals  or  otherwise  prompting  students  on  the  2009 
CRCT.  Principal  Clark  instructed  her  to  write  a  statement  detailing  what  she  did  and  what 
testing  protocols  she  violated.  She  drafted  a  statement  and  turned  it  in  to  Principal  Clark.  She 
heard  nothing  further  until  Penn  Payne' s  investigation. 

4.  Ingrid  Abella  (Teacher) 

Ingrid  Abella  denied  prompting  students  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  denied  that  Demetrius 
Carroll  ever  pointed  out  a  student  cheating  in  her  classroom.  She  also  denied  moving  that 
student's  desk  a  few  inches  away. 

5.  Lisa  Terry  (Teacher) 

Lisa  Terry  admitted  to  cheating  by  prompting  students  during  the  administration  of  the 
2009  CRCT. 


155 


IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 


After  observing  cheating,  multiple  proctors  asked  that  they  be  removed  from  fourth  grade 
classrooms  during  the  CRCT  and  the  ITBS  test.  Based  on  this  evidence,  we  conclude  that 
Christi  Davis-Langston  knew,  or  should  have  known,  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  at 
this  school. 

We  conclude  that  Wendy  Ahmed,  Ingrid  Abella,  Lisa  Terry,  and  Tonia  Clark  cheated  on 
the  2009  CRCT. 

Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar 
statistical  data,  we  believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  cheated.  However,  we  lack  sufficient 
evidence  to  determine  who  engaged  in  this  misconduct. 

Lillian  Lockhart  reported  to  Principal  Clark  that  she  witnessed  Wendy  Ahmed  cheating 
on  the  2009  CRCT.  Instead  of  immediately  reporting  this,  Clark  attempted  to  dissuade  Lockhart 
from  telling  the  truth  by  saying,  "If  you  don't  tell  me  anything,  I  won't  have  to  report  anything." 
Principal  Clark  knew  of  cheating  in  2010,  if  not  before.  He  attempted  to  prevent  Lockhart  from 
reporting  Wendy  Ahmed's  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Donald  Clark  failed  in  his  ultimate  responsibility  for 
testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  securing  for  the  2009 
CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  other  evidence,  that  Principal  Clark 
failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test 
security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously 
reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


156 


Statement  of  Events 


I,  Christi  Davis-La ngston,  the  2008-2009  testing  coordinator  for  Humphries  Elementary  School,  was 
approached  on  the  fourth  day  of  the  CRCT  administration  around  2r00p.m  by  Mrs.  Liilian  Lockhart,  one 
of  the  testing  proctors.  Mrs.  Lockhart  approached  me  with  a  concern  saying  she  fett  a  little 
uncomfortable  with  proctoring  in  the  classroom  to  which  she  was  assigned,  i  immediately  informed  her 
that  if  an  irregularity  occurred,  I  needed  to  know  so  it  could  be  reported  to  Mr.  Clark  and  the  testing 
office.  She  paused  for  a  moment  and  said,  "No,  just  assign  me  another  duty;  I  can  handle  it." 

At  that  point,  I  thought  it  had  something  to  do  with  some  sort  of  tension  between  the  two  teachers.  My 
main  concern  was  the  importance  of  maintaining  a  nurturing  environment  for  the  students.  Therefore, 
without  hesitation  I  immediately  assigned  her  to  a  new  duty  for  the  remaining  days  of  the  CRCT 
administration.  I  thought  her  concern  was  resolved  after  being  placed  as  hall  monitor.  This  concern  was 
not  brought  to  my  attention  again  until  March  25,  2010. 

Mr.  Clark  called  a  faculty  meeting  March  24, 2010,  and  informed  us  that  the  State  would  be  coming  to 
our  school  to  investigate  the  testing  procedure  at  our  school.  He  tofd  us  how  proud  he  was  of  his  staff 
and  that  we  had  not  dorse  anything  wrong,  so  we  had  nothing  to  be  concerned  about. 

On  March  25,  2010,  Mrs.  Lockhart  came  to  my  office  and  toid  me  that  she  went  to  Mr.  Clark 
immediately  after  the  faculty  meeting  about  the  concern  that  she  had  last  year  while  proctoring  in  Mrs. 
Abella's  4th  grade  classroom.  I  asked  her  why  did  she  not  report  this  irregularity  to  Mr.  Clark  and  me  on 
last  year.  She  said  she  thought  she  could  handle  it,  but  her  conscious  kept  bothering  her. 

While  in  my  office,  Mrs.  Lockhart  began  telling  me  what  she  told  Mr.  Clark.  She  stated  that  she  told  Mr. 
Clark  that  Mrs,  Ahmed,  a  4th  grade  science  and  social  studies  teacher,  came  into  the  classroom  where 
Mrs.  Lockhart  was  proctoring  to  look  in  on  her  students  to  provide  a  little  motivation  while  her  students 
were  taking  that  portion  of  the  test.  She  stated  that  she  told  Mr.  Clark  that  Mrs.  Ahmed  started  giving 
answers  out  in  front  of  the  class.  She  said  she  told  him  that  she  pulled  her  aside  and  told  her  that  she 
could  not  do  that.  Mrs.  Lockhart  went  on  to  say  that  she  told  him  that  she  and  Mrs.  Ahmed  had  a 
conversation  about  Mrs.  Ahmed's  actions,  and  she  felt  a  little  better.  During  the  course  of  her  telling  me 
what  she  told  Mr.  Clark,  she  said  Mr.  Clark  asked  her  if  she  saw  Mrs.  Ahmed  erase  any  answers  and  she 


On  Friday  morning ,  March  26, 2010 ,  Mr.  Clark  called  me  into  his  office  to  share  a  concern  that  Mrs. 
Lockhart  had  regarding  proctoring  in  Mrs.  Abella's  class  during  CRCT  testing  2008-2009.  Mr.  Clark 
informed  me  that  Mrs.  Lockhart  stated  an  irregularity  was  committed  by  Mrs.  Ahmed  during  the  2008- 
2009  testing  session.  At  that  point  I  informed  him  that  Mrs.  Lockhart  only  voiced  a  concern  about 
feeling  uncomfortable  while  proctoring  the  CRCT  and  requested  that  she  be  moved.  1  granted  her 
request  because,  as  I  stated  above,  I  thought  there  might  be  some  tension  between  them,  and  I  wanted 
to  preserve  the  testing  environment  for  our  students. 


said,  "No. 


EXHIBIT 


157 


GLOSSARY 


TERM 

DEFINITION 

APS 

Atlanta  Public  Schools.  An  independent  school  system  in  the  City 
of  Atlanta,  Fulton  County,  Georgia.  Officially  the  "Atlanta 
Independent  School  System." 

AYP 

Adequate  Yearly  Progress.  Part  of  the  federal  No  Child  Left 
Behind  Act  of  2001,  AYP  is  a  measure  of  year-to-year  student 
achievement  on  statewide  assessments.  Schools,  school  districts, 
and  states  must  demonstrate  a  certain  level  of  performance  on 
reading  and/or  language  arts  and  mathematics  assessments. 
Schools  that  do  not  "meet  AYP"  for  two  consecutive  years  in  the 
same  subject  area  are  designated  as  schools  in  "Needs 
Improvement." 

Certified  educator 

Individuals  trained  in  education  who  hold  teaching,  leadership, 
service,  technical  specialist,  or  permit  certification  issued  by  the 
PSC. 

Classroom  level  data 

CRCT  erasure  analysis  data  for  specific  teacher  or  homeroom, 
including  the  subject  tested,  number  of  students,  total  number  of 
wrong  to  right  erasures,  and  resulting  standard  deviation. 

Confessed 

Admitted  to  the  truth  of  a  charge  or  accusation. 

Convocation 

Annual  celebration  held  by  APS  to  recognize  schools  that  have 
met  at  least  70  percent  of  its  performance  targets.  All  APS 
schools'  faculty  are  expected  to  attend. 

CRCT 

Criterion-Referenced  Competency  Test.  A  standardized  test 
used  by  Georgia  as  the  AYP  assessment  tool  for  elementary  and 
middle  schools.  Tests  grades  1-8  in  reading,  English/language 
arts,  and  math.  In  addition,  grades  3-8  are  tested  in  science  and 
social  studies. 

ELA 

English  /language  arts 

Fifth  (5th)  Amendment 

The  privilege  against  self-incrimination  grounded  in  the  Fifth 
Amendment  to  the  U.S.  Constitution,  providing  that  no  person 
will  be  compelled  to  be  a  witness  against  himself.  In  a  criminal 
case,  if  a  defendant  invokes  the  5th  Amendment  and  refuses  to 
testify,  he  may  not  be  presumed  guilty  based  on  that  refusal. 
However,  in  a  civil  case,  if  a  witness  invokes  the  5th  Amendment 
and  refuses  to  answer  questions  concerning  whether  he  or  she 
committed  a  particular  act,  "it  creates  an  implied  admission  that  a 
truthful  answer  would  tend  to  prove  that  the  witness  had 
committed  the  act."  Perez  v.  Atlanta  Check  Cashers,  Inc.,  302 
Ga.  App.  864,  870  (2010). 

GOSA 

Governor' s  Office  of  Student  Achievement.  State  agency  which 
provides  accountability  for  Georgia's  schools,  pre-K  through 
postsecondary  levels.  The  intent  is  to  improve  student 
achievement  and  school  completion  in  Georgia. 

GTR  ID# 

Unique  identification  number  assigned  to  each  student. 

158 


IEP 

Individualized  Education  Program.  Free,  appropriate,  public 
special  education  services  which  students  with  certain  disabilities 
or  impairments  are  eligible  to  receive.  An  EEP  is  a  written  plan 
developed  by  a  team  of  teachers,  other  qualified  personnel, 
parents,  guardians,  and  the  student  if  appropriate. 

Implicated 

Shown  to  be  also  involved,  usually  in  an  incriminating  manner. 

LA 

Language  arts 

MA 

Mathematics 

Makes  the  floor 

At  Convocation,  schools  that  "make  the  floor"  have  met  at  least 
70  percent  of  its  targets.  Those  schools'  faculty  members  are 
seated  in  groups  on  the  floor  of  the  host  venue,  with  the  schools 
meeting  the  highest  percentage  of  its  targets  seated  closest  to  the 
stage.  Schools  that  do  not  make  the  floor  are  seated  in  bleachers 
or  other  remote  seating. 

Meets,  exceeds 

Refers  to  a  measurement,  usually  expressed  as  a  percentage,  of 
students  who  "met"  or  "exceeded"  state  standards  in  certain  core 
curriculum  subjects  (math,  reading,  English/language  arts, 
science,  and  social  students)  as  measured  by  the  CRCT. 

Monitors 

Persons  assigned  to  a  school  to  observe  test  administration 
procedures;  e.g.  test  distribution,  test  collection,  storage  of  test 
materials.  Observes  testing  sites  to  see  that  schedules  are  being 
followed,  reports  unusual  activity. 

out 

APS  Office  of  Internal  Resolution/Employee  Relations. 
Processes  and  investigates  complaints  and  reports  of  employee 
wrongdoing  and  related  employment  matters. 

Parapro/  paraprofe  ssi  onal 

A  person  who  may  have  less  than  professional-level  certification, 
who  relates  in  role  and  function  to  a  professional  and  does  a 
portion  of  the  professional's  job  under  the  professional's 
supervision,  and  whose  decision-making  authority  is  limited  and 
regulated  by  the  professional.  O.C.G.A.  §  20-2-204.  Georgia 
paraprofessionals  must  be  certified  by  the  PSC. 

PDP 

Professional  Development  Plan.  A  plan  developed  and 
implemented  to  correct  perceived  deficiencies  in  performance  of 
teachers  and  administrators,  used  to  encourage  and  support 
improvement  in  specific  areas. 

PEC 

Program  for  Exceptional  Children.  Program  offering  specialized, 
educational  testing,  evaluation  and  other  services  to  eligible 
children  with  certain  disabilities  or  impairments.  Each  eligible 
student  must  have  an  IEP. 

Preponderance  of  the  evidence 

A  standard  of  proof  in  civil  cases.  Evidence  which  is  of  greater 
weight  or  more  convincing  than  the  evidence  which  is  offered  in 
opposition  to  it;  that  is,  evidence  which  as  a  whole  shows  that  the 
fact  sought  to  be  proved  is  more  probable  than  not. 

Proctors 

Persons  assigned  to  monitor  classrooms  or  other  specific  areas 
during  testing;  circulate  to  observe  students  and  discourage 
misconduct;  assist  test  examiner  to  maintain  testing  security; 
report  unusual  activity  or  irregularities. 

159 


Prompting 

Assisting  students  during  testing  by  use  of  verbal  or  nonverbal 
cues.  Examples  include  voice  inflection,  pointing  to  answers, 
repetition  or  rephrasing  of  words  or  passages,  physical  cues, 
movements,  sounds,  or  signals  meant  to  suggest  or  convey  the 
answer  or  encourage  students  to  erase  and  change  an  answer. 

PSC 

Georgia  Professional  Standards  Commission.  A  state  agency 
created  "to  set  and  apply  high  standards  for  the  preparation, 
certification,  and  continued  licensing  of  Georgia  public 
educators."  The  PSC  also  handles  the  investigation  and  due 
process  of  cases  referred  for  disciplinary  action. 

RD 

Reading 

RPA 

APS'  Department  of  Research,  Planning  and  Accountability. 
Among  other  functions,  RPA  manages  and  oversees  all  testing 
programs  at  APS. 

Social  promotion 

The  practice  of  promoting  a  student  from  one  grade  level  to  the 
next  on  the  basis  of  age  rather  than  academic  achievement. 

SRTs 

School  Reform  Teams.  APS  is  organized  into  four  (4) 
geographically  aligned  areas  comprised  of  elementary  and  middle 
schools,  each  headed  by  an  executive  director.  The  structure  is 
meant  to  provide  greater  accountability  and  faster  service  to 
schools  and  parents. 

Standard  deviation 

A  measure  of  the  variability  or  dispersion  of  a  distribution  of 
scores  that  represents  the  average  difference  between  individual 
scores  and  the  mean.  The  more  the  scores  cluster  around  the 
mean,  the  smaller  the  standard  deviation. 

Student  level  data 

CRCT  erasure  analysis  data  for  each  individual  student  for  each 
subject  tested  (RD,  ELA,  MA)  showing  the  total  number  of 
erasures  made  on  that  test,  and  the  number  of  those  erasures  that 
changed  from  wrong  to  right. 

Stray  marks 

Pencil  markings  made  on  answer  sheets  that  are  visible  outside  of 
the  "bubble"  or  oval  area  where  answer  choices  are  to  be  marked. 

Targets 

An  accountability  program  implemented  by  APS,  consisting  of 
specific  performance  goals  set  for  each  school  at  the  beginning  of 
the  school  year.  The  targets  are  based  on  quantifiable  measures, 
primarily  CRCT  test  scores,  and  also  include  factors  such  as 
student  attendance,  and  enrollment  in  rigorous  academic  courses. 

Testing  accommodation 

A  change  in  a  test  administration  that  modifies  how  a  student 
takes  or  responds  to  the  assessment.  Accommodations  are 
designed  to  provide  equity  and  serve  to  level  the  playing  field  for 
students  with  disabilities  and  English  Language  Learners. 

Totality  of  the  evidence 

Finding  or  conclusion  based  on  all  of  the  circumstances  of  a 
particular  case,  rather  than  any  one  factor. 

WTR 

Wrong  To  Right  =  an  incorrect  answer  choice  is  erased  and 
changed  to  a  correct  answer  choice  on  an  answer  sheet,  as 
detected  by  erasure  analysis  using  high  speed  optical  scanners. 

160 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 


Volume  2 

(School  Summaries  continued) 

Dunbar  Elementary  School  161 

D.H.  Stanton  Elementary  School  168 

Finch  Elementary  School  175 

Coan  Middle  School  185 

Dobbs  Elementary  School  191 

Toomer  Elementary  School  204 

Benteen  Elementary  School  207 

Beecher  Hills  Elementary  School  215 

Fain  Elementary  School  219 

Slater  Elementary  School  226 

Thomasville  Heights  Elementary  School  233 

Fickett  Elementary  School  242 

Hutchinson  Elementary  School  247 

Capitol  View  Elementary  School  251 

Towns  Elementary  School  257 

Blalock  Elementary  School  262 

Whitefoord  Elementary  School  266 

Boyd  Elementary  School  269 

West  Manor  Elementary  School  273 

Turner  Middle  School  276 


White  Elementary  School  280 

Harper  Archer  Middle  School  282 

M.  Agnes  Jones  Elementary  School  296 

Parkside  Elementary  School  303 

Bethune  Elementary  School  305 

Miles  Elementary  School  312 

Grove  Park  Elementary  School  315 

Jackson  Elementary  School  318 

Cleveland  Elementary  School  320 

Alonzo  A.  Crim  Open  Campus  High  School  322 

Benjamin  S.  Carson  Preparatory  Academy  323 

C.W.  Hill  Elementary  School  326 

Adamsville  Elementary  School  327 

Cascade  Elementary  School  328 

Heritage  Academy  Elementary  School  329 

University  Community  Academy  330 

Williams  Elementary  School  335 

Herndon  Elementary  School  336 

Bolton  Academy  Elementary  School  337 

Morningside  Elementary  School  339 

Morris  Brandon  Elementary  School  341 

2009  vs.  2010  342 

APS  Percentage  of  Classes  with  Flagged  WTR's  Chart  345 

Glossary  347 


DUNBAR  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


403  Richardson  Street  SW  Principal:  Betty  Greene  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30312  Testing  Coordinator:  Lera  Middlebrooks 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Dunbar  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 
Thirty-three  teachers  at  this  school  were  interviewed,  some  more  than  once.  One  teacher 
confessed  to  cheating  and  described  a  schoolwide  effort  to  systematically  change  students' 
answers.  Cheating  at  Dunbar  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a  confession 
and  witness  testimony.  Teachers  altered  student  tests  at  the  direction  of  the  testing  coordinator. 
In  2009,  Principal  Betty  Greene  knew,  or  should  have  known,  about  the  cheating  and  did  nothing 
to  stop  it.  She  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


201)9 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

68.8 

22.2 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

35 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

12(12) 

4(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

10.6 

4.3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

25.5 

5.7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

5.7 

3.1 

161 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 
Test 

Standard 
Deviation 

CLEVELAND 

1  RD 

17.22939083 

CLEVELAND 

1  LA 

16.99132645 

CLEVELAND 

1  MA 

11.47314625 

ROBINSON 

1  RD 

13.47719177 

ROBINSON 

1  LA 

11.79453268 

ROBINSON 

1  MA 

11.81766289 

BUCKNER  WEBB 

2  RD 

9.956665175 

BUCKNER  WEBB 

2  LA 

13.44381668 

BUCKNER  WEBB 

2  MA 

10.72902389 

NEAL 

2  RD 

13.38424431 

NEAL 

2  LA 

12.94238772 

NEAL 

2  MA 

12.63677355 

FINCH 

3  RD 

12.74161831 

FINCH 

3  LA 

13.07106849 

FINCH 

3  MA 

8.163582603 

SIMS 

3  RD 

13.6532191 

SIMS 

3  LA 

15.51816483 

SIMS 

3  MA 

14.46837268 

MERO 

4  RD 

15.29138298 

MERO 

4  LA 

16.71096832 

MERO 

4  MA 

13.65208524 

JACKSON 

4  RD 

8.644315347 

JACKSON 

4  LA 

15.37803113 

JACKSON 

4  MA 

9.828594528 

MORRIS 

4  RD 

8.305788944 

MORRIS 

4  LA 

5.692897979 

MORRIS 

4  MA 

16.63570708 

BROWN 

5  RD 

19.00286597 

BROWN 

5  LA 

19.20845225 

BROWN 

5  MA 

19.24820175 

MERO 

5  RD 

25.48075585 

MERO 

5  MA 

17.29375013 

IVEY 

5  RD 

24.52850503 

IVEY 

5  LA 

19.77430582 

IVEY 

5  MA 

23.00447453 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  educators  at  Dunbar  cheated  on 
the  2009  CRCT. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  68.8%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  eight  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  that  year. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  one  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Dunbar. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  68.8%  to  22.2%. 

Fourth,  of  the  35  flagged  classrooms  at  Dunbar,  all  (100%)  had  standard  deviations  that 
exceeded  five  and  29  (83%  of  the  total  number  of  flagged  classrooms)  classrooms  exceeded  ten 


162 


standard  deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures 
occurred  without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten 
standard  deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the 
deviations  from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating 
on  a  broad  scale  at  Dunbar. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  98.6%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  accounted  for  only  68.6%  of  the 
total  classrooms. 

Additionally,  several  witnesses  state  that  teachers  at  Dunbar  changed  answers  on  the 
2009  CRCT  and  probably  in  previous  years  as  well. 

B.  Narrative 

Testing  Coordinator  Lera  Middlebrooks  called  teachers  to  the  computer  lab  to  "clean  up" 
the  tests.  They  were  called  by  grade  level.  One  teacher  confessed  to  changing  answers  in  the 
computer  lab  with  other  teachers  of  her  grade  level.  Given  the  high  standard  deviations  in  all 
grades  at  Dunbar,  we  find  it  likely  that  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grade  teachers  altered  test 
documents  as  well.  Lera  Middlebrooks  attempted  to  influence  witnesses  by  threatening  them 
with  harm  if  they  told  investigators  about  the  erasing. 

At  least  one  teacher,  Gloria  Ivey,  gave  students  the  correct  answers  during  the  test. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Rose  Neal  (Teacher) 

Rose  Neal  taught  second  grade  and  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Lera 
Middlebrooks  approached  Neal  in  2009  and  told  her  that  she  could  "clean  up"  the  tests  if  she 
wanted.  Neal  believed  Middlebrooks  meant  that  she  could  erase  and  change  answers.  Neal 
erased  her  students'  answers  in  the  computer  lab  with  fellow  first  and  second  grade  teachers 
Pamela  Cleveland,  Shani  Robinson,  and  Diane  Webb  Buckner.  They  all  changed  answers  for 
approximately  thirty  minutes.  Middlebrooks  did  not  change  answers  but  she  was  in  the  room. 

All  grade  levels  received  the  same  opportunity  to  cheat.  Neal  heard  that  three  teachers 
declined  to  cheat:  Martina  Jackson,  Shawntye  Finch,  and  Kimberly  Brown  Yontz.  She  believes 
the  others  changed  answers. 

Cleveland,  Ivey,  Neal,  and  Middlebrooks  discussed  that  if  they  did  not  say  anything  this 
investigation  could  not  find  anything.  They  agreed  to  tell  the  same  story.  Middlebrooks 
threatened  the  teachers  that  if  they  told  investigators  what  happened  she  would  place  a  lien  on 
their  house  or  "get  them  at  their  car."  She  said,  "If  any  bitch  mentions  my  name  .  .  .,"  implying 
that  she  would  do  something  violent  to  anyone  who  implicated  her. 

According  to  Neal,  cheating  occurred  during  the  tenure  of  the  prior  principal  Corliss 
Davenport  as  well.  Davenport  had  a  team  of  teachers  that  would  change  answers  in  a  back 
office. 


163 


2.        Jonathan  Baggett  (Teacher) 


Jonathan  Baggett  started  teaching  at  Dunbar  in  the  2009-2010  school  year.  Baggett  soon 
heard  "What  happens  at  Dunbar  stays  at  Dunbar  .  .  .  You  wouldn't  believe  what  goes  on  here." 
Baggett  was  a  monitor  during  the  2010  CRCT.  During  the  math  portion  each  student  in  Ivey's 
fifth  grade  class  had  a  sheet  of  paper  on  their  desk.  Baggett  and  another  hall  monitor  say  they 
believe  there  were  math  formulas  on  the  paper. 

During  the  social  studies  portion  of  the  CRCT,  Baggett  saw  suspicious  activity. 
Immediately  prior  to  the  administration  of  the  test,  the  students  had  their  social  studies  books 
out.  When  Baggett  walked  into  the  classroom,  he  says  he  felt  that  the  students  knew  they  were 
doing  something  wrong  and  looked  guilty  and  uncomfortable.  Baggett  reported  this  activity  to 
the  SRT  monitor.  The  SRT  monitor  told  him  to  tell  Principal  Greene.  Principal  Greene  told 
Baggett  that  since  the  children  had  their  books  out  prior  to  the  test,  there  was  nothing  improper. 

During  the  2010  ITBS,  Baggett  heard  Ivey  giving  her  students  the  answers  to  the  test 
questions. 

3.  Lashaine  Blake  (Teacher) 

Lashaine  Blake  taught  at  Dunbar  in  2004  and  2005.  She  witnessed  former  principal 
Corliss  Davenport  point  to  the  correct  answers  on  the  CRCT  for  students. 

4.  Tarita  Dixon  (Teacher) 

In  the  2004-2005  school  year,  Dixon  tutored  students.  On  one  occasion,  she  asked  the 
students  how  they  scored  so  well  on  the  CRCT  because  she  knew  they  had  not  studied  the 
material.  Corliss  Davenport  filed  an  OIR  complaint  against  Dixon  for  confronting  students. 
Davenport  wrote  the  report  in  such  a  way  that  it  did  not  reference  test  scores.  Dixon  believes 
Ivey  was  the  one  who  gave  her  tutorial  students  the  answers  to  the  CRCT. 

Parents  requested  that  their  children  be  placed  in  Ivey's  class  because  she  would  give 
students  the  answers  to  the  CRCT.  Dixon  believes  that  Ivey  wrote  the  answers  on  the  board. 

5.  Shawntye  Finch  (Teacher) 

Teachers  got  together  by  grade  level  and  erased  stray  marks  and  "cleaned  up"  tests  with 
the  test  books  open.  Five  to  six  people  were  in  the  room  at  a  time  "cleaning  up"  the  tests. 
Teachers  at  all  grade  levels  participated. 

Students  request  to  be  tested  by  teacher  Gloria  Ivey.  Finch  thinks  this  is  because  Ivey 
gives  the  students  the  answers. 

6.  Martina  Jackson  (Teacher) 

Students  request  to  be  tested  by  Gloria  Ivey.  The  students  say  that  if  Ivey  tested  them  she 
would  help  them  on  the  CRCT. 


164 


7.        Oreta  Taylor  (Proctor) 


Oreta  Taylor  proctored  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  told  Lera  Middlebrooks  she  did  not 
want  to  proctor  Ivey's  class  in  2009  because  she  suspected  Ivey  gave  students  the  answers. 

In  some  year  prior  to  2009  she  heard  former  principal  Corliss  Davenport  and 
Middlebrooks  say  to  each  other,  "What  are  we  going  to  do  about  these  test  scores?"  She  thought 
this  was  suspicious. 

Alan  Gotlieb,  a  Teach  for  America  teacher,  told  Taylor  his  students'  answer  sheets  had 
been  altered  and  that  he  took  pictures  of  the  answer  sheets.  Gotlieb  was  at  Dunbar  when  the 
prior  principal  was  there. 

No  teacher  would  report  cheating  because  the  procedures  require  the  teachers  to  talk  to 
the  testing  coordinator  who  then  reports  to  the  principal.  Teachers  would  not  report  misconduct 
to  the  people  who  were  cheating.  Also,  teachers  were  told  they  would  be  fired  if  they  did  not 
improve  test  scores  but  would  receive  bonuses  if  test  scores  improved.  Taylor  feels  that  the 
environment  was  ripe  for  cheating.  She  does  not  believe  APS  planned  the  cheating  but  that  there 
was  a  "culture  of  carelessness,"  and  that  there  was  pressure  combined  "with  looking  the  other 
way." 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Betty  Greene  (Principal) 

Principal  Greene  testified  that  she  did  not  cheat  and  does  not  have  knowledge  of 
cheating.  When  asked  to  explain  the  statistical  evidence,  she  stated  that  the  classes  at  Dunbar  are 
very  small  and  so  it  does  not  take  much  erasing  for  the  standard  deviations  to  be  high. 

Principal  Greene  testified  under  oath  that  she  did  not  know  that  Middlebrooks  directed 
teachers  to  "clean  up  tests"  or  erase  stray  marks. 

2.  Gloria  Ivey  (Teacher) 

Gloria  Ivey  denied  knowledge  of  cheating.  In  2009,  Ivey  had  three  subjects  flagged  with 
standard  deviations  of  19,  23,  and  24.  Ivey's  test  results  dropped  in  2010,  and  when 
investigators  asked  her  to  explain  why  the  scores  dropped,  she  blamed  it  on  the  children.  Ivey 
said  her  students  in  2010  were  not  as  bright  as  her  students  in  2009. 

3.  Tera  Middlebrooks  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Lera  Middlebrooks  was  interviewed  four  times  and  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating. 

4.  Corliss  Davenport  (former  principal) 

Corliss  Davenport  denied  cheating  while  she  was  the  principal  of  Dunbar.  Three 
particular  teachers  had  CRCT  score  gains  that  made  her  suspicious,  but  she  has  no  direct 
knowledge  of  cheating. 


165 


Davenport  was  the  principal  of  Dunbar  from  2003  to  2007.  Test  scores  steadily 
improved  while  she  was  principal,  but  not  at  a  level  satisfactory  to  SRT-2  Director  Michael  Pitts. 
Pitts  asked  Davenport  sign  a  guaranty  in  2006  stating  that  all  of  her  Dunbar  students  would  pass 
the  CRCT.  She  refused  to  sign  the  document  and  Pitts  began  sending  harassing  and  threatening 
e-mails  regarding  her  dedication  to  the  job.  Davenport  discussed  the  issue  with  Dr.  Kathy 
Augustine.  Augustine  told  Davenport  that  Davenport  and  Pitts  needed  to  work  together  and 
understand  each  other  better.  It  was  after  this  that  Pitts  opened  an  investigation  into  a  personal 
bank  account  used  by  Davenport  to  deposit  monies  obtained  from  renting  out  the  school.  This 
was  a  common  practice  within  APS.  Davenport  opened  a  personal  account  because  Pitts  never 
responded  to  her  e-mails  asking  where  she  should  put  the  money.  Davenport  accounted  for  all 
proceeds  that  entered  and  exited  the  account  and  cooperated  with  the  investigation.  The  APS 
investigation  stated  that  she  did  not  break  the  law  but  used  poor  judgment  and  she  should  be 
terminated.  The  termination  was  rescinded  after  Davenport's  attorney  spoke  with  APS. 
Davenport  was  tired  of  fighting  with  Pitts  and  resigned  on  April  1,  2007. 

E.  Testimony  of  Additional  Witnesses 

1.        Dunbar  Student 

A  student  at  Dunbar  told  investigators  about  an  altercation  among  the  students  over  the 
scores  received  by  Ivey's  students.  Students  in  Brown's  fifth  grade  class  were  upset  because  the 
students  in  Ivey's  class  received  awards  for  their  CRCT  scores.  After  an  awards  ceremony  there 
was  a  fight  in  the  hallway  between  the  two  classes  over  the  awards.  The  children  in  Brown's 
class  did  not  believe  the  students  in  Ivey's  class  were  "smart  enough"  to  win  the  awards. 

F.  Other  Evidence 

In  June  2009,  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education  ("DOE")  passed  along  an  allegation 
of  cheating  to  APS.  The  allegation  came  to  the  DOE  from  the  Toombs  County  Public  School 
System.  According  to  the  complaint,  in  March  of  2009,  Lera  Middlebrooks  gave  a  friend  and 
former  colleague,  Wanetta  Jones,  who  was  working  in  Toombs  County,  two  Grade  5  prompts  for 
the  2009  Georgia  Writing  Assessment.  Jones  e-mailed  educators  in  Toombs  County.  Jones'  e- 
mail  stated:  "A  friend  gave  me  these  suggested  topics  for  this  year's  writing  assessment."  The 
topics  were  two  of  the  three  topics  that  appeared  on  the  writing  assessment  administered  in 
March.  Jones  told  investigators  that  she  spoke  to  Middlebrooks  about  test  topics  on  February  24 
and  February  28.  She  sent  the  e-mail  to  Toombs  County  teachers  on  March  1.  The  APS-hired 
outside  investigator  determined  that  Dunbar  received  the  writing  test  on  February  26. 
Middlebrooks'  defense  was  that  the  two  topics  she  suggested  are  topics  she  used  during  training 
throughout  the  school  year  and  that  she  told  Jones  the  topics  before  the  tests  arrived  at  Dunbar. 
Middlebrooks  said  she  only  talked  to  Jones  on  February  24  and  that  they  did  not  talk  on  February 
28.  According  to  Middlebrooks,  she  could  not  have  known  the  topics  before  the  tests  arrived  at 
Dunbar.  The  APS  investigation  concluded  that  the  evidence  did  not  support  a  finding  that 
Middlebrooks  shared  test  topics  with  Jones. 


166 


IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 


We  find  that  Testing  Coordinator  Lera  Middlebrooks  directed  and  facilitated  cheating  on 
the  2009  CRCT.  Our  conclusion  is  based  on  the  statistical  evidence,  the  testimony  of  Rose  Neal, 
and  the  Dunbar  teachers  who  say  tests  were  "cleaned  up"  in  Middlebrooks'  presence. 

Rose  Neal  testified  that  the  first  and  second  grade  teachers  changed  answers  together. 
She  implicated  the  following  first  and  second  grade  teachers:  Pamela  Cleveland,  Shani 
Robinson,  and  Diane  Webb  Buckner.  Each  of  those  teachers  is  flagged  and  we  conclude  that 
they  altered  students'  answer  sheets. 

Teachers  in  all  five  grades  at  Dunbar  are  flagged.  Witnesses  testified  that  teachers 
"cleaned  up"  tests  by  grade  level  in  the  computer  lab  with  Lera  Middlebrooks.  Neal  confirmed 
what  many  teachers  suspected:  that  "cleaning  up"  meant  erasing  answers.  Based  on  the 
statistical  evidence  in  third  and  fourth  grades,  we  believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  cheated  in 
the  same  manner.  However,  we  lack  sufficient  evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers 
engaged  in  cheating. 

There  are  three  flagged  teachers  in  the  fifth  grade  with  standard  deviations  that  range 
from  17.3  to  25.5.  It  is  highly  improbable  that  these  wrong-to-right  erasures  occurred  without 
human  intervention.  One  of  the  fifth  grade  teachers  is  Gloria  Ivey.  A  student,  Oreta  Taylor, 
Martina  Jackson,  Shawntye  Finch,  Neal  and  Jonathan  Baggett  all  testified  that  Gloria  Ivey 
cheated  on  the  CRCT  and  on  the  TTBS  test.  We  conclude  that  Gloria  Tvey  cheated  on  the  CRCT 
in  2009  and  in  other  years.  We  believe  that  other  flagged  fifth  grade  teachers  cheated  in  the 
same  manner.  However,  we  lack  sufficient  evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers 
cheated. 

It  is  likely  that  Principal  Greene  knew  teachers  were  cheating.  The  computer  lab  was  on 
the  same  hallway  as  Principal  Greene's  office  and  Neal  stated  that  Principal  Greene  was  in  her 
office  when  the  teachers  were  erasing  answers.  The  evidence  further  indicates  that  prior 
principal  Corliss  Davenport  cheated,  or  had  knowledge  of,  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  the  years 
prior  to  2009. 

We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Betty  Greene  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for 
testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  securing  for  the  2009 
CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Greene  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

In  summary,  we  conclude  that  Rose  Neal,  Pamela  Cleveland,  Shani  Robinson,  Diane 
Webb  Buckner,  Lera  Middlebrooks,  Gloria  Ivey,  Corliss  Davenport  and  Betty  Greene  were 
involved  in,  or  knew  about,  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 


167 


D.H.  STANTON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


970  Martin  Street  Principal:  Willie  Davenport  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Francis  Mack 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  D.H.  Stanton  Elementary  in  2009.  Forty -three  people 
were  interviewed  at  D.H.  Stanton,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  this  school  is  evidenced  by 
a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Willie  Davenport 
falsified  attendance  records  and  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

58.3 

17.6 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

28 

9 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

13(10) 

5(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.1 

4.5 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

16.4 

6.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.3 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teachers 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

FREEMAN,  S 

1  LA 

3.156218027 

FREEMAN,  S 

1  MA 

5.993240792 

HENDERSON 

1  LA 

3.919355265 

HENDERSON 

1  MA 

6.982042641 

PEARSON 

1  LA 

4.742821759 

PEARSON 

1  MA 

6.721165913 

BEAN 

2  LA 

6.097889682 

BEAN 

2  MA 

4.412189693 

LONGLEY 

2  LA 

4.457594802 

RAILEY 

2  RD 

3.323602389 

RAILEY 

2  LA 

5.034765376 

RAILEY 

2  MA 

13.35227113 

CROWDER 

3  RD 

9.079333524 

FREEMAN,  J 

3RD 

10.59476171 

FREEMAN,  J 

3  LA 

4.001932283 

FREEMAN,  J 

3  MA 

3.51359273 

MARTIN 

3  RD 

13.15889705 

DRIGER 

4  RD 

5.654729531 

DRIGER 

4  LA 

4.549254822 

DRIGER 

4  MA 

4.596643495 

HALL 

4  RD 

16.41395851 

HALL 

4  LA 

13.83837352 

HALL 

4  MA 

9.647934367 

COWAN 

5  LA 

5.273507313 

COWAN 

5  MA 

5.402169957 

TURMAN 

5  RD 

7.739448899 

TURMAN 

5  LA 

8.890014444 

TURMAN 

5  MA 

8.224118733 

168 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


A.  Overview 

Several  facts  point  to  the  conclusion  that  D.H.  Stanton  Elementary  School  was  not 
managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  58.3%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  from  58.3%  to  17.6%. 

Second,  of  the  28  flagged  classrooms  at  D.H.  Stanton,  18  (64%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  five  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  D.H. 
Stanton. 

Third,  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  D.H.  Stanton,  87%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
58.3%)  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Fourth,  of  the  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT,  only  two 
schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms. 

Fifth,  there  was  a  culture  of  cheating  at  D.H.  Stanton.  Chari  Cowan  testified  that  she  was 
instructed  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT  writing  test.  Many  teachers  spoke  of  conversations  of  cheating 
at  D.H.  Stanton.  If  teachers  heard  these  conversations,  Principal  Davenport  probably  did  also, 
yet  she  did  nothing. 

Last,  test  security  was  poor  at  D.H.  Stanton.  Testing  Coordinator  Francis  Mack  admitted 
to  leaving  CRCT  materials  unattended  in  her  unlocked  office.  Moreover,  an  eyewitness  saw  the 
CRCT  answer  sheets  spread  across  Mack's  desk  when  she  was  out  of  the  building. 

B.  Narrative 

The  attendance  clerk,  Carmen  Smith,  entered  Francis  Mack's  office  at  Principal 
Davenport's  direction  when  Mack  was  absent  and  discovered  tests  and  answer  sheets  spread  out 
on  the  desk  and  table.  The  clerk  reported  the  discovery  to  Principal  Davenport  and  was  told  to 
retrieve  the  tests.  By  the  time  Smith  returned  to  Mack's  office  to  retrieve  the  test  materials,  she 
found  that  the  tests  had  been  gathered  up.  Smith  suspected  that  Davenport  directed  another 
teacher,  Valerie  Hall,  to  remove  the  tests  and  answer  sheets  from  Mack's  office. 

Carmen  Smith  confessed  to  altering  attendance  logs  at  the  direction  of  Principal 
Davenport,  who  threatened  her  with  termination  if  she  did  not  comply. 

Principal  Davenport  created  an  atmosphere  ripe  for  cheating  by  applying  pressure  on 
teachers  to  improve  test  scores.  Teachers  were  told  exactly  how  many  students  in  their  class  had 


169 


to  pass  the  CRCT.  Some  teachers  prompted  students  during  testing,  and  some  gave  students  the 
answers. 

C.        Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Carmen  Smith  (Attendance  Clerk) 

Carmen  Smith  testified  that  Principal  Davenport  gave  her  the  key  to  Francis  Mack's 
office  and  asked  Smith  to  locate  a  form.  Mack  was  absent  from  school  that  day.  Carmen  Smith 
opened  Francis  Mack's  office  and  saw  test  booklets  and  answer  sheets  spread  out  on  Mack's 
desk  and  on  an  adjacent  table.  Smith  left  immediately,  reported  her  discovery  to  Principal 
Davenport,  and  asked  if  she  should  retrieve  the  tests  from  Mack's  office.  Davenport  told  her  to 
retrieve  the  tests  but  did  not  appear  concerned.  Smith  was  stopped  by  someone  in  the  hall  on  the 
way  to  Mack's  office.  By  the  time  she  arrived  at  Mack's  office,  she  found  the  desk  and  table 
cleaned  off  and  the  test  materials  were  gone.  Carmen  Smith  suspected  that  Principal  Davenport 
sent  someone  to  waylay  her  in  the  hallway  and  ordered  Valerie  Hall  to  collect  the  tests  from 
Mack's  office.  She  believed  it  was  Valerie  Hall  who  retrieved  the  tests  because  Hall  had  a  key 
to  Mack's  office.  Smith  believed  that  Mack  and  Hall  erased  and  changed  answers  with  Principal 
Davenport's  knowledge.  Smith  stated  that  Mack  "ran"  the  school. 

Principal  Davenport  ordered  her  to  change  attendance  logs  in  2009  to  mark  certain 
students  "present"  who  were  absent.  Smith  complied  with  Davenport's  orders  because  she  was 
threatened  with  termination. 

Teachers  at  D.H.  Stanton,  including  Erica  Turman,  Valerie  Hall,  and  Pamela  Kirkland 
Pearson  prompted  students  with  answers,  changed  students'  answers,  and  gave  answers  to 
students.  Principal  Davenport  and  Francis  Mack  pressured  teachers  about  test  scores  and  making 
targets. 

Principal  Davenport  was  training  Francis  Mack  to  become  principal  at  D.H.  Stanton  after 
Davenport  retired.  Davenport  and  Mack  were  close  and  believed  Davenport  wanted  Mack  to 
become  principal  to  enable  cheating  to  continue.  She  filed  an  OIR  complaint  against  Davenport, 
Mack,  and  SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts  to  try  to  prevent  Mack  from  becoming  a 
principal. 

2.  LaVerne  Nash  (Proctor) 

LaVerne  Nash  was  a  proctor  in  2009.  During  the  2009  CRCT  testing  week,  Nash  saw 
test  booklets  on  Francis  Mack's  desk.  Mack's  office  was  open,  but  she  was  not  in  her  office. 
Nash  thought  that  was  odd  because  the  test  booklets  were  to  be  secured  at  all  times. 

Although  she  lacked  proof,  Nash  believed  that  Principal  Davenport  may  have  instructed 
Mack  to  change  test  answers  because  Davenport  was  always  trying  to  "make  the  floor."  She 
believed  that  Mack  changed  the  tests  with  the  help  of  Valerie  Hall  and  Erica  Turman  because 
they  always  stayed  late  after  school  during  testing. 


170 


3.        Chari  Cowan  (Teacher) 


Chari  Cowan  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  recalled  that  in  2009,  Francis  Mack 
called  Cowan  to  her  office  and  directed  her  to  look  at  a  document  on  her  desk.  Cowan 
recognized  the  document  as  the  "prompt"  for  the  upcoming  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  She 
refused  to  review  the  document  further  or  to  use  the  information  on  the  document.  Cowan  felt 
she  was  being  "set  up"  by  Mack  because  when  she  had  previously  questioned  Mack  and 
Principal  Davenport  about  how  students  were  able  to  progress  to  the  fifth  grade  or  pass  the 
CRCT  without  being  able  to  read,  she  was  met  with  verbal  abuse  from  them. 

Cowan  stated  that  at  least  half  of  her  2009  class  of  16  boys  could  barely  read  but 
somehow  passed  the  summer  CRCT  and  went  on  to  sixth  grade.  When  she  asked  them  how  they 
had  passed  in  previous  grades,  they  told  her  that  teachers  Valerie  Hall  and  Cassandra  Driger  had 
given  them  the  answers. 

Pamela  Kirkland  Pearson  told  Cowan  in  2009  that  she  overheard  Francis  Mack,  Erica 
Turman  and  Valerie  Hall  discussing  how  they  were  going  to  change  the  test  scores.  Pearson 
stated  that  Tracy  Jones-Salifu  also  overheard  that  conversation. 

4.  Tracy  Jones-Sali  fu  (Math  Coach) 

Principal  Davenport  told  Tracy  Jones-Salifu  that  she  would  not  have  a  job  if  the  school 
did  not  meet  targets.  Davenport  said  "what  am  I  going  to  tell  Mr.  Pitts  if  you  don't  meet 
targets?"  Davenport  was  threatening  and  abusive  to  everyone  except  Francis  Mack.  It  was 
important  to  teachers  and  administrators  that  D.H  Stanton  "make  the  floor"  at  Convocation. 
Jones-Salifu  heard  that  third  and  fifth  grade  teachers  gave  answers  to  students  and  changed 
wrong  answers  in  2009. 

Jones-Salifu  said  that  Pamela  Kirkland  Pearson  used  to  be  friends  with  Principal 
Davenport,  Francis  Mack  and  Valerie  Hall  until  Pearson  "decided  not  to  cheat  anymore  "  Jones- 
Salifu  stated  that  Pearson  came  to  her  in  tears  reporting  that  Valerie  Hall  and  Francis  Mack  told 
Pearson  that  she  needed  to  "buy  into  the  plan"  of  how  to  cheat  on  the  2010  CRCT.  Pearson  was 
ostracized  when  she  refused  to  cheat. 

Chari  Cowan  said  that  Francis  Mack  left  the  prompts  for  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  on 
the  desk  in  her  office  for  Cowan  to  use,  but  Cowan  refused  to  take  the  information. 

Jones-Salifu  believed  there  was  cheating  in  2009-2010  by  Mack  and  others  accessing  the 
tests  during  the  CRCT  make-up  test.  Jones-Salifu  said  that  Valerie  Hall  had  a  key  to  Mack's 
office.  Jones-Salifu  stated  that  cheating  may  have  occurred  in  2009-2010  because  Mack  arranged 
the  schedule  to  allow  friends  to  test  each  others'  class.  She  stated  that  Erica  Turman  tested 
Valerie  Hall's  class,  and  Michelle  Martin  tested  Turman' s  class. 

5.  Remika  Smith  (Reading  Coach  &  Co-Testing  Coordinator) 

Remika  Smith  was  the  reading  coach  and  the  "co-test  coordinator"  with  Francis  Mack  in 
2009.  Mack  suggested  cheating.  Mack's  friends  participated  in  the  cheating,  including  Valerie 
Hall,  Erica  Turman,  Cassandra  Driger,  and  Pamela  Kirkland  Pearson.  There  had  been  a  falling 
out  between  Mack  and  Pearson.  Pearson  was  reported  to  use  voice  inflection  to  prompt  students. 


171 


Principal  Davenport  pressured  the  teachers  to  meet  targets  and  told  them  that  certain  numbers  of 
students  must  pass. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Willie  Davenport  (Principal) 

Willie  Davenport  stated  that  she  never  touched  a  test  and  was  not  aware  that  Francis 
Mack  did  anything  to  the  tests.  She  denied  being  told  about  tests  and  answer  sheets  spread  out  in 
Mack's  office.  Davenport  thought  that  Carmen  Smith  would  have  motivation  to  lie  about  her. 
She  thought  that  Carmen  Smith  had  a  rivalry  with  Francis  Mack. 

Principal  Davenport  thought  that  targets  were  realistic  and  stated  that  no  one  had  ever 
complained  to  her  that  they  could  not  be  achieved.  She  denied  any  allegations  of  cheating.  She 
did  not  understand  how  anyone  could  claim  she  was  involved  in  cheating. 

2.  Francis  Mack  (Testing  Coordinator) 

We  interviewed  Francis  Mack  twice.  She  was  represented  by  counsel.  She  became 
Testing  Coordinator  for  the  2009  CRCT,  only  one  year  after  coming  to  D.H.  Stanton.  In  her  first 
interview,  Mack  denied  that  she  erased  and  changed  answers  on  the  CRCT.  Mack  was  aware  of 
allegations  that  tests  and  answer  sheets  were  seen  in  her  office.  She  claimed  that  if  there  were 
tests  in  her  office  it  was  because  she  had  to  fill  in  student  identification  information  on  the  forms. 
She  usually  performed  this  task  in  the  media  center,  but  claimed  she  decided  to  do  it  in  her  office 
in  2009  because  the  media  center  was  unavailable.  Mack  would  never  leave  answer  sheets 
unattended  in  her  office,  and  stated  that  if  the  answer  sheets  were  in  her  office  then  she  was  in 
the  building.  Then  she  admitted  that  she  may  have  left  early  one  day  during  test  week.  When 
asked  why  someone  would  report  seeing  answer  sheets  spread  out  in  her  office,  Mack  stated  that 
Carmen  Smith  had  lied  about  her  in  the  past. 

Mack  stated  that  only  she,  Principal  Davenport,  and  the  custodian  had  keys  to  Mack's 
office.  It  was  important  to  Principal  Davenport  to  "make  the  floor"  and  she  told  teachers  to  do 
everything  they  could  to  help  students  pass  the  test  as  long  as  it  was  ethical.  Mack  denied  she 
was  under  pressure  from  Davenport  to  increase  test  scores.  When  asked  whether  she  knew  of 
anyone  cheating  at  D.H.  Stanton,  Mack  voiced  suspicions  that  first  grade  teachers  may  have 
prompted  students  during  the  test.  She  believed  the  students  were  responsible  for  the  high 
erasures.  She  stated  she  would  not  benefit  from  changing  answers  because  she  was  only  the  test 
coordinator. 

When  Mack  was  interviewed  a  second  time,  she  stated  that  Carmen  Smith  sometimes 
went  into  her  office  in  her  absence  and  "probably"  had  a  key;  that  Smith  "distributed  the  keys," 
and  had  keys  to  "everything  in  the  building."  She  claimed  that  Smith  had  a  master  key  to  the 
building,  locked  the  building  at  night  and  left  around  6:30  p.m.  Mack  usually  left  school  around 
4:00  p.m.  Valerie  Hall  and  Mack  became  friends  in  2009  and  anyone  who  said  Hall  had  a  key  to 
Mack's  office  was  lying. 

She  stated  for  the  first  time  that  her  "co-test  coordinator,"  Remika  Smith,  would  have 
been  in  her  office  when  she  was  filling  in  student  ID  information  on  test  forms,  unless  Smith  was 
in  a  meeting  elsewhere.  She  could  not  recall  whether  Remika  Smith  was  attending  a  meeting  in 


172 


2009  when  test  sheets  were  in  her  office.  Mack  recalled  filling  in  the  student  ID  information  on 
the  answer  sheets  with  Remika  Smith  in  the  media  center,  not  in  her  office.  She  claimed  she 
never  had  answer  sheets  in  her  office,  but  admitted  she  may  have  carried  a  few  to  her  office 
when  she  needed  to  look  up  information  on  her  computer.  Mack  stated  that  she  and  Principal 
Davenport  are  not  friends  but  only  have  a  working  relationship.  She  disputed  that  Principal 
Davenport  had  been  grooming  her  to  be  the  next  principal  of  D.H.  Stanton. 

Carmen  Smith  filed  a  false  OIR  report  against  her  after  she  confronted  Smith  about 
reports  from  teachers  that  Smith  was  altering  attendance  records.  Smith  told  her  she  was  doing  it 
under  orders  but  would  not  tell  her  who  instructed  her  to  change  the  records.  Carmen  Smith  was 
incompetent.  She  thought  Carmen  Smith  was  out  to  get  her.  She  insisted  that  she  would  not 
cheat  for  Principal  Davenport.  She  reiterated  that  she  had  no  motive  to  change  answers.  When 
asked  who  had  motive  to  change  answers,  she  said  if  anyone  changed  answers  it  could  be 
Carmen  Smith,  Remika  Smith,  and  Tracy  Jones-Salifu.  She  felt  that  people  were  trying  to 
undermine  her.  Ultimately,  she  thought  that  the  children  were  responsible  for  the  erasures. 

3.  Valerie  Hall  (Teacher) 

Valerie  Hall  denied  changing  answers,  prompting  students,  providing  answers,  or  doing 
anything  wrong.  She  was  aware  that  people  thought  she  had  a  key  to  Mack's  office,  and  that  she 
and  Mack  changed  answers.  She  admitted  to  being  friends  with  Mack,  but  denied  having  a  key 
and  changing  answers. 

Hall  was  flagged  in  all  subjects.  She  stated  that  her  students  erased  due  to  the  testing 
strategies  she  taught  them.  When  she  was  confronted  with  data  about  her  students'  erasures,  she 
agreed  that  the  numbers  looked  odd  but  had  no  explanation  for  the  erasures  other  than  her  testing 
strategies.  Hall  was  aware  that  people  thought  she  cheated  during  the  2010  CRCT  as  well,  which 
she  found  surprising. 

4.  Pamela  Kirkland  Pearson  (Teacher) 

Pamela  Kirkland  Pearson  was  a  first  grade  teacher  in  2009,  and  was  flagged  in  language 
arts  and  math.  She  denied  changing  answers,  prompting  students  or  giving  answers  to  students. 
Pearson  received  threatening  phone  calls  from  Davenport  and  Mack  in  the  summer  of  2010  in 
which  they  cursed  her  and  accused  her  of  telling  people  that  she  had  seen  them  with  the  tests. 

Principal  Davenport  pressured  teachers  to  improve  their  students'  scores  and  wanted 
"100%"  from  all  first  grade  teachers.  Davenport  told  each  teacher  how  many  students  she 
wanted  to  pass  the  test.  Regarding  our  investigation,  Principal  Davenport  and  Francis  Mack  told 
her  to  "be  careful  what  you  say.  Your  license  is  on  the  line." 

Pearson  believed  there  was  cheating  on  the  2010  CRCT,  and  that  it  was  accomplished  in 
part  by  teachers  administering  the  test  to  their  friends'  classes. 

5.  Erica  Turman  (Teacher) 

Erica  Turman  taught  fifth  grade  in  2009.  Turman  did  not  believe  Mack  would  change 
answers.  She  claimed  she  would  never  erase  answers  at  Mack's  request  and  questioned  why 
people  claimed  they  were  friends. 


173 


Turman  was  flagged  in  all  subjects.  She  did  not  recall  her  students  erasing  as  much  as 
the  data  indicated  but  denied  she  had  cheated.  Some  students  claimed  that  Turman  gave  them 
answers  to  the  test  in  2010,  but  Turman  denied  the  allegations. 

She  said  in  APS,  pressure  came  "from  the  top."  She  stated  that  if  you  can't  "produce 
scores"  you  might  be  moved  from  a  critical  grade  to  another  one. 

Turman  was  interviewed  by  Stan  Williams  from  the  Office  of  Internal  Resolution  (OER) 
about  cheating  complaints  after  we  instructed  APS  to  stop  further  investigations  into  the  CRCT 
allegations.  Turman  stated  that  OER  was  convinced  she  had  cheated  and  that  Williams 
interviewed  her  for  three  to  four  hours  and  shouted  at  her. 

6.        Cassandra  Driger  (Teacher) 

Cassandra  Driger  taught  fourth  grade  in  2009.  She  was  flagged  in  all  subjects,  but  denied 
cheating.  She  had  no  explanation  for  the  erasures  in  her  class.  She  stated  that  there  was  a  lot  of 
pressure  to  have  students  pass  the  CRCT.  Targets  were  considered  a  "big  deal"  because  there 
was  money  associated  with  meeting  them.  Driger  was  transferred  from  fourth  grade  to  second 
grade  in  August  2010,  due  to  low  test  scores. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

Principal  Davenport  directed  Carmen  Smith  to  falsify  attendance  records. 

We  also  conclude  that  Principal  Davenport  pressured  teachers  to  meet  targets  and  raise 
test  scores.  She  created  an  environment  for  cheating  by  exerting  pressure  on  teachers  to  ensure 
that  specific  numbers  of  students  passed  the  test.  When  a  witness  discovered  tests  and  answer 
sheets  spread  out  in  Mack's  office,  Davenport  attempted  to  prevent  the  witness  from  retrieving 
the  materials.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Willie  Davenport  directed  and  facilitated  cheating  on 
the  CRCT  and  Testing  Coordinator  Francis  Mack  orchestrated  a  scheme  to  erase  and  change 
student  answer  sheets.  Some  teachers  provided  answers  to  students  in  2009  and  other  years. 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Willie  Davenport  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for 
testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2009 
CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation  that  Principal  Davenport  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


174 


FINCH  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1114  Avon  Avenue  Principal:  Dr.  Linda  Paden  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30310  Testing  Coordinator:  Sheila  Maxwell 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Finch  Elementary  in  2009.  Twenty -five  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Three  teachers  confessed  to  cheating. 
Cheating  at  Finch  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions,  and  witness 
testimony.  Principal  Linda  Paden  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

48 

10.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

36 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(12) 

5(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.4 

4.3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

12.5 

6.9 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3 

3.3 

175 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

FLORENCE 

1  RD 

8.846474026 

FLORENCE 

1  LA 

10.19554239 

FLORENCE 

1  MA 

5.910475918 

WILLIAMS 

1  RD 

4.998094435 

WILLIAMS 

1  LA 

7.957153707 

WILLIAMS 

1  MA 

5.462605321 

COLLIER 

2  RD 

4.646391888 

COLLIER 

2  LA 

7.56492777 

COLLIER 

2  MA 

11.29655878 

DANIEL 

2  RD 

3.675444286 

DANIEL 

2  LA 

3.822209124 

DANIEL 

2  MA 

5.179953847 

MAY 

2  RD 

3.162734205 

MAY 

2  MA 

4.706895666 

SHORTER 

2  RD 

8.856146833 

SHORTER 

2  LA 

4.839756297 

SHORTER 

2  MA 

6.943705203 

THOMAS  WILSON 

2  RD 

8.450655498 

THOMAS  WILSON 

2  LA 

4.932053882 

THOMAS  WILSON 

2  MA 

11.26949673 

GATES 

3RD 

6.534536821 

JACKSON 

3RD 

7.877656967 

JACKSON 

3  LA 

5.137420301 

SIMS 

3  RD 

4.136286631 

SIMS 

3  LA 

3.011752305 

SIMS 

3  MA 

4.721896378 

FULLER 

4  RD 

7.710450651 

FULLER 

4  LA 

4.546424278 

FULLER 

4  MA 

4.27940952 

RICHARDS 

4  RD 

3.5223442 

RICHARDS 

4  LA 

4.121365048 

RICHARDS 

4  MA 

4.807330648 

WOODS 

4  RD 

6.822352397 

SCOTT 

5  RD 

12.47303933 

SCOTT 

5  LA 

8.177833943 

SCOTT 

5  MA 

8.846474026 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Finch  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  48%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly,  from  48% 
to  10.3%. 

Second,  of  the  36  flagged  classrooms  at  Finch,  20  (55%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  four  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  Finch. 


176 


Third  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Finch,  73%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  48%  of 
the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  Principal  Paden  expected  her  teachers  to  cheat.  She  allowed  teachers  to  take 
their  CRCT  materials  to  their  classrooms  after  the  testing  period.  Three  teachers  confessed  to 
cheating.  Principal  Paden  knew  of  and  directed  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Finch  Elementary 
School. 

B.  Narrative 

Three  teachers  confessed  to  cheating.  Two  teachers  pointed  to  answers,  re-read 
questions,  or  used  other  cues  to  ensure  their  students  chose  correct  answers.  One  teacher 
confessed  to  erasing  and  changing  answers  in  the  principal's  conference  room  where  teachers 
were  gathered  by  grade  levels  to  erase  stray  marks.  The  testing  coordinator,  Sheila  Maxwell, 
supervised  the  room  where  stray  marks  were  erased  but  claimed  to  be  too  busy  to  notice  what 
teachers  were  actually  erasing. 

Principal  Linda  Paden  was  on  a  PDP  and  told  teachers  if  she  was  on  a  PDP,  they  would 
also  be  on  a  PDP.  Teachers  who  cheated  did  so  out  of  fear  of  negative  evaluations  or  job  loss  if 
they  failed  to  improve  test  scores.  Principal  Paden  told  them,  "Walmart's  hiring."  The  pressure 
exerted  by  Principal  Paden  on  her  staff  to  meet  targets,  raise  test  scores,  and  "push  the  children" 
created  an  environment  conducive  to  cheating. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Ashley  Daniel  (Teacher) 

Ashley  Daniel  confessed  to  cheating  in  2009.  She  was  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right 
erasures  in  all  subjects.  Teachers  were  called  to  the  principal's  conference  room  by  grade  level 
for  the  purpose  of  erasing  stray  marks.  All  second  grade  teachers  were  present.  In  her  first 
interview  she  stated  that  she  erased  stray  marks  and  darkened  in  circles  if  they  were  light.  If  two 
answers  were  marked  and  she  could  tell  which  one  was  darker,  she  would  erase  the  lighter 
colored  answer.  After  Daniel  was  informed  that  the  evidence  indicated  she  was  responsible  for 
changing  answers  she  initially  admitted  responsibility  for  the  erasures,  but  then  stated  she  "really 
did  not  change"  answers.  Daniel  repeatedly  confessed  and  recanted. 

At  her  second  interview,  Daniel  admitted  she  changed  answers  during  the  time  that  stray 
marks  were  being  erased  in  the  conference  room.  She  believed  that  other  teachers  also  changed 
answers.  The  second  grade  teachers,  and  first  grade  teachers  Joya  Florence,  Richanda  Williams, 
and  Curtis  Collier  were  present. 

Daniel  said  that  there  were  several  reasons  teachers  would  cheat.  Principal  Paden  linked 
test  scores  to  evaluations,  and  told  Daniel  that  she  needed  better  scores  to  get  a  better  evaluation. 
Scores  were  posted  at  faculty  meetings  and  teachers  were  singled  out  in  front  of  their  colleagues. 
Principal  Paden  threatened  teachers  in  a  meeting,  and  told  them  if  she  was  going  to  be  on  a  PDP, 
then  they  should  be  on  one  also.  Principal  Paden  made  threatening  statements,  like  "The  door 
swings  both  ways,"  and  "Walmart  is  hiring." 


177 


2.        Danielle  Jackson  (Teacher) 


Danielle  Jackson  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT  by  prompting  her  students  to 
change  answers  from  wrong  to  right.  She  gave  extra  attention  to  students  having  difficulty 
during  the  test.  For  example,  she  pointed  to  questions  and  nodded  her  head  if  an  answer  was 
wrong,  and  sometimes  reiterated  a  learning  point  such  as  "you  know  I  taught  you  about 
pronouns. . ."  If  a  student  finished  a  section  too  quickly,  she  instructed  the  student  to  look  at  the 
questions  again,  and  sometimes  encouraged  them  to  erase  the  answers  if  she  noticed  they  were 
wrong.  She  believed  her  actions  resulted  in  students  changing  answers  from  wrong  to  right. 

Jackson  recalled  that  when  she  turned  in  her  tests  at  the  end  of  the  day  she  was  asked  by 
either  Maxwell  or  Paden,  on  more  than  one  occasion,  if  she  needed  her  tests  back  after  lunch. 
She  did  not  understand  why  she  would  need  her  tests  back  after  lunch  and  said  no.  She  later 
learned  that  first  and  second  grade  teachers  were  allowed  to  test  under  a  different  schedule  that 
permitted  testing  before  and  after  lunch.  Jackson  taught  third  grade.  She  heard  that  first  and 
second  grade  teachers  spent  a  long  time  in  the  conference  room  "erasing  stray  marks,"  and  stated 
that  it  became  a  joke  around  the  school. 

She  was  surprised  that  two  or  three  students  who  did  not  read  well  passed  the  CRCT. 

There  was  great  pressure  on  teachers  to  have  their  students  get  high  test  scores.  Principal 
Paden  publicized  teachers'  scores  in  faculty  meetings  and  if  a  teacher  did  not  do  well  they  would 
be  told  to  seek  the  advice  of  a  teacher  with  higher  scores,  a  practice  which  teachers  found 
humiliating.  Principal  Paden  told  Jackson  on  the  first  day  of  testing  that  SRT-1  Executive 
Director  Sharon  Davis- Williams  was  watching  Jackson  and  knew  that  her  test  scores  were  low. 

3.        Richanda  Williams  (Teacher) 

Richanda  Williams  confessed  to  prompting  her  students  to  erase  and  change  answers. 
She  read  the  question  twice  to  her  students,  walked  by  their  desks,  and  if  she  saw  several 
students  marking  the  wrong  answer  she  read  the  question  a  third  time.  She  stated  that  if  her 
"smarter  students"  were  marking  wrong  answers,  then  she  knew  the  others  were  missing  the 
answer  as  well.  Williams  claimed  that  she  did  not  use  voice  inflection,  but  raised  her  voice  and 
told  the  class  to  "stay  focused." 

Williams  stated  that  she  and  other  teachers  were  called  by  grade  level  to  erase  stray 
marks,  but  denied  changing  any  answers.  Williams  admitted  that  if  the  answer  was  not 
completely  bubbled  in  they  would  fill  in  the  rest.  She  understood  that  to  be  "standard  procedure," 
but  did  not  know  where  she  got  that  understanding.  If  an  answer  was  not  sufficiently  erased,  she 
would  erase  it  more  completely.  Williams  estimated  she  was  in  the  room  about  30  minutes. 
Principal  Paden  came  in  and  out  of  the  conference  room  while  tests  were  being  "cleaned." 

Williams  stated  that  there  was  a  lot  of  pressure  at  staff  meetings  to  meet  targets. 
Principal  Paden  stressed  that  they  had  to  "move  the  children"  along. 


178 


4.        Sharona  Thomas-Wilson  (Teacher) 


Sharona  Thomas-Wilson  denied  cheating  and  had  no  explanation  for  the  high  number  of 
wrong-to-right  erasures  in  her  class.  She  stated  that  during  the  2009  CRCT,  her  class  finished 
early  on  the  first  day  so  she  tried  to  turn  in  her  tests.  Principal  Paden  offered  to  let  her  take  the 
tests  back  to  her  class  and  give  the  students  more  time.  Thomas-Wilson  declined  and  turned  in 
her  test  materials.  Teachers  Melissa  May  and  Curtis  Collier  also  finished  early  and  were  present 
during  the  exchange.  Principal  Paden  threatened  to  write  them  up  for  creating  a  testing 
irregularity  by  finishing  the  test  early.  Testing  Coordinator  Sheila  Maxwell  communicated  the 
same  message  later.  On  the  second  day,  Principal  Paden  instructed  Thomas-Wilson  to  test  her 
students  from  9:00-10:30  a.m.  only  on  section  one  of  the  test,  then  stop  for  lunch  and  turn  in  the 
tests.  The  schedule  change  allowed  the  students  an  extra  30  minutes  to  complete  section  one. 
After  lunch  the  students  were  to  start  section  two  of  the  test  and  work  until  they  were  finished. 
Thomas-Wilson  had  to  follow  the  altered  schedule  for  days  two  and  three  of  testing. 

The  teachers  cleaned  stray  marks  in  the  conference  room  after  testing.  Thomas-Wilson 
recalled  being  in  the  room  "about  an  hour"  and  stated  that  other  second  grade  teachers  were  in 
the  room,  including  Curtis  Collier.  She  believed  the  only  reason  Collier  might  have  denied  being 
in  the  room  was  because  it  might  be  viewed  as  an  opportunity  to  erase  answers.  Principal  Paden 
and  Maxwell  were  present  when  the  teachers  entered  the  room,  but  Principal  Paden  left  shortly 
thereafter.  Maxwell  entered  and  exited  the  room  periodically,  leaving  the  teachers  alone  with  the 
tests. 

Thomas-Wilson  testified  that  when  she  started  at  Finch  she  inflated  students'  grades  to 
C's  because  Principal  Paden  made  it  known  that  she  did  not  want  students  to  receive  D's  or  F's. 
Later  she  was  told  by  Paden  that  she  needed  to  change  the  C's  to  even  higher  grades  because  a  C 
implied  that  Finch  was  average.  Thomas-Wilson  felt  she  could  not  make  the  grade  higher 
because  she  had  already  given  C's  to  some  students  who  deserved  D's  or  F's. 

In  2009,  a  student  told  Thomas-Wilson  that  a  teacher  who  is  no  longer  at  Finch  provided 
answers  during  a  previous  CRCT.  Thomas- Wilson  had  questioned  the  student  about  his  decline 
in  performance  between  first  and  second  grade,  which  she  found  strange  because  the  material 
was  basically  the  same.  The  student  said  his  previous  teacher  gave  the  student  answers  and  told 
classmates  to  "look  on  each  others  tests."  Thomas- Wilson  said  that  she  had  a  number  of  students 
in  the  past  who  could  not  read  but  passed  the  CRCT. 

5.        Veatris  Wright  (Teacher) 

Veatris  Wright  was  a  third  grade  teacher  in  2009.  Wright  now  teaches  second  grade 
because  she  was  demoted  for  having  low  test  scores  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  said  that  she  felt  a 
lot  of  pressure  but  she  did  not  cheat.  When  the  2009  CRCT  scores  came  back,  Principal  Paden 
called  Wright  to  her  office  and  told  her  that  her  scores  were  the  worst  on  her  grade  level.  Wright 
explained  that  she  had  a  tough  class  that  year  and  had  a  problem  with  some  of  the  girls  being 
bullies.  Principal  Paden  told  her  that  SRT-1  Executive  Director  Davis-Williams  "didn't  want  to 
hear  any  of  that."  She  was  told  that  her  scores  were  not  low  enough  to  be  placed  on  a  PDP,  but  if 
the  scale  should  change  Wright  would  be  notified.  She  and  other  teachers  were  threatened  on 
more  than  one  occasion  with  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores.  Principal  Paden  said  she  knew  that 


179 


Wright  was  being  considered  for  tenure  and  that  her  scores  had  better  be  good.  One  week  into 
the  summer,  Principal  Paden  called  Wright  and  told  her  she  was  being  moved  back  a  grade. 
Wright  knew  it  was  due  to  low  test  scores.  Another  teacher  was  also  moved  back  a  grade  for  low 
scores. 

Wright  stated  that  teachers  were  called  to  the  conference  room  at  the  end  of  testing  to 
erase  stray  marks.  She  did  not  cheat  or  observe  anyone  else  cheating.  She  was  asked  on  more 
than  one  occasion  by  Principal  Paden  and  Testing  Coordinator  Sheila  Maxwell  if  she  needed  her 
tests  back  after  lunch.  Wright  heard  that  answers  were  being  changed,  but  had  no  specific 
information. 

Veatris  Wright  stated  that  every  year  she  had  one  or  two  students  coming  into  her  class 
who  could  not  read  but  who  had  exceeded  standards  on  the  prior  year's  CRCT. 

D.       Testimony  of  Additional  Witnesses 

1.  Curtis  Collier  (Teacher) 

Curtis  Collier  attempted  to  turn  in  his  test  materials  early  but  was  told  to  take  them  back 
to  his  class  because  it  was  "too  early."  He  did  not  re-distribute  the  tests  to  the  students,  he  just 
returned  the  tests  later.  Collier  denied  entering  the  room  when  stray  marks  were  being  erased. 

2.  Melissa  May  (Teacher) 

Melissa  May  denied  cheating  on  the  CRCT.  She  stated  that  during  the  2009  CRCT  she, 
Thomas-Wilson  and  Collier,  attempted  to  turn  in  their  test  materials  and  were  told  it  was  "too 
early"  and  they  should  take  the  tests  back  to  their  classrooms.  May  went  back  to  her  room  and 
placed  the  materials  on  a  table.  She  recalled  that  teachers  erased  stray  marks  in  the  conference 
room  and  that  Collier,  Thomas-Wilson,  Tyrone  Shorter  and  Ashley  Daniel  were  present.  May 
stayed  "about  ten  minutes"  and  Collier  finished  before  her  and  left. 

Principal  Paden  told  May  that  teachers  would  be  put  on  a  PDP  if  their  test  scores  were 

low. 

3.  Joya  Florence  (Teacher) 

Joya  Florence  stated  that  teachers  were  called  to  the  conference  room  by  grade  level  to 
erase  stray  marks.  She  became  distressed  when  we  informed  her  that  there  seemed  to  be  a 
correlation  between  schools  where  groups  get  together  to  erase  stray  marks  and  schools  where 
systematic  cheating  occurred.  However,  she  denied  changing  answers  or  seeing  others  change 
answers.  When  Florence  was  told  in  a  follow-up  interview  that  the  evidence  suggested  she  had 
changed  answers  on  her  students'  tests,  she  became  emotional.  She  stated  that  she  had  been 
dealing  with  a  difficult  student  all  day  and  wanted  to  go  home. 

4.  Demiris  Gates  (Teacher) 

Demiris  Gates  denied  cheating  or  having  knowledge  of  cheating.  Teachers  were  called  to 
the  conference  room  by  grade  level  to  erase  stray  marks.  APS  created  an  environment  regarding 


180 


test  scores  in  which  teachers  "must  make  it  happen."  Students  must  pass  the  test  and  scores  must 
keep  rising.  He  knew  that  Principal  Paden  was  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores.  Gates  was 
surprised  one  of  his  students  passed  the  CRCT. 

5.  Tyrone  Shorter  (Teacher) 

Tyrone  Shorter  recalled  that  Collier  and  May  tried  to  turn  in  their  tests  early  but  were  not 
allowed  to  do  so  by  Sheila  Maxwell.  Shorter  stated  that  at  the  end  of  testing  the  teachers  were 
called  by  grade  level  to  erase  stray  marks.  He  acknowledged  that  he  was  in  the  room  when  stray 
marks  were  erased  but  denied  making  any  erasures,  even  when  told  that  others  contradicted  this 
statement.  Shorter  stated  that  Maxwell  asked  him,  when  he  was  leaving  the  room,  if  he  had 
"checked  the  test."  He  told  her  yes,  but  she  repeated  the  question  two  more  times.  Shorter 
believed  that  she  was  trying  to  convince  him  to  change  answers.  Principal  Paden  and  Maxwell 
did  not  get  along  because  Principal  Paden  wanted  things  done  a  certain  way,  and  Maxwell  tried 
to  "uphold  proper  testing  procedures." 

Shorter  did  not  get  along  with  Principal  Paden  because  after  he  asked  questions  in  faculty 
meetings,  she  transferred  him  from  fourth  to  second  grade  for  "challenging  her  authority."  When 
contacted  for  a  follow-up  interview,  Shorter  stated  he  was  concerned  about  the  consequences  of 
being  truthful,  and  was  concerned  that  his  answers  might  jeopardize  his  teaching  certificate. 
Shorter  told  us  he  wanted  to  consult  his  attorney  before  speaking  again  to  us.  When  Shorter 
appeared  with  counsel  at  a  subsequent  interview,  he  stated  that  he  had  already  answered 
questions  and  refused  to  answer  any  more. 

6.  Walda  Jefferson  (Math  Coach) 

Walda  Jefferson  was  the  math  coach  in  2009.  When  shown  the  list  of  flagged  teachers, 
she  stated  she  was  not  surprised  at  many  of  the  names  on  the  list.  She  thought  the  test  scores 
were  high  and  that  some  students  were  passing  the  math  portion  when  they  clearly  did  not  grasp 
the  fundamentals  and  scored  low  on  pretests.  It  was  obvious  someone  cheated  because  the  test 
scores  did  not  reflect  the  ability  of  the  students.  She  had  students  transfer  in  from  Gideons, 
Peyton  Forest,  Venetian  Hills  and  other  schools  who  exceeded  standards  on  the  math  portion  of 
the  CRCT  but  could  not  perform  single-digit  addition. 

7.  Lincoln  Woods  (Teacher) 

Lincoln  Woods  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  and  stated  that  he  did  not  go  to  the 
conference  room  to  erase  stray  marks.  He  stated  he  did  not  feel  pressure  for  his  students  to  do 
well  on  the  CRCT. 

8.  Charlotte  Scott  (Teacher) 

Charlotte  Scott  denied  cheating.  Scott  had  no  explanation  for  her  wrong-to-right 
erasures. 


181 


E.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


1.  Sheila  Maxwell  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Sheila  Maxwell  was  the  Testing  Coordinator  at  Finch  in  2009.  She  never  witnessed 
cheating  in  classrooms  and  did  not  know  when  it  could  possibly  occur.  People  would  not  cheat 
around  her  because  they  knew  that  she  would  report  it.  She  did  not  recall  asking  teachers  if  they 
needed  more  time  or  if  Principal  Paden  asked  teachers  either.  She  did  not  know  why  anyone 
would  make  that  statement  and  speculated  that  teachers  may  have  been  confused. 

Maxwell  said  she  was  a  "stickler"  for  protocol  and  procedure.  Erasing  stray  marks  was  a 
common  procedure  and  mandated  by  the  state.  It  was  her  job  to  supervise  that  procedure.  She 
called  teachers  down  to  the  principal's  conference  room  by  grade  level  after  the  testing  was 
completed.  The  tests  were  stacked  on  the  table  and  labeled  with  the  appropriate  teacher's  name. 
Teachers  were  directed  to  their  stack,  given  a  pencil,  and  told  to  "clean  the  tests."  She  said  that 
the  third,  fourth  and  fifth  grade  teachers  only  had  the  answer  sheets  when  erasing;  the  test 
booklets  were  in  a  separate  stack. 

Maxwell  admitted  it  was  possible  for  a  teacher  to  see  that  two  answers  were  bubbled  in 
and  erase  the  lighter  one  if  it  appeared  that  it  had  not  been  completely  erased.  She  said  it  was 
important  to  make  sure  that  stray  marks  were  erased  completely  so  that  they  could  not  be  picked 
up  by  the  machine  that  grades  the  tests.  After  stressing  the  importance  of  that  procedure, 
Maxwell  claimed  that  she  never  checked  the  tests  to  make  sure  that  stray  marks  were  actually 
erased.  She  insisted  that  teachers  were  simply  asked  to  clean  the  tests;  whether  they  actually  did 
so  was  up  to  them.  She  stated  that  she  did  not  have  time  to  sit  and  watch  the  teachers  while  they 
erased,  because  she  was  too  busy  packing  tests  and  filling  out  paperwork  at  the  side  of  the  room. 
Her  focus,  she  said,  was  to  ensure  that  all  the  test  materials  were  prepared  and  packed.  She 
would  glance  over  and  see  that  teachers  had  pencils  and  were  erasing.  Principal  Paden  was  "in 
and  out  of  the  room"  while  stray  marks  were  being  erased. 

Maxwell  could  not  recall  how  long  teachers  were  in  the  room,  but  thought  they  spent 
only  eight  to  12  minutes  erasing  stray  marks.  She  denied  that  any  teacher  spent  an  hour  erasing 
stray  marks.  She  did  not  recall  any  teacher  refusing  to  report  to  the  room  to  erase  stray  marks. 
She  recalled  that  all  teachers  reported  to  the  conference  room. 

Maxwell  and  Principal  Paden  had  professional  difficulties.  She  filed  a  complaint  with 
OIR  against  Principal  Paden,  alleging  that  Paden  had  pressured  her  to  sign  a  form  attesting  that 
the  CRCT  materials  were  stored  in  the  vault,  which  Maxwell  stated  was  not  true.  Paden  was 
known  to  lie.  Maxwell  felt  that  she  was  ostracized  for  standing  up  to  Principal  Paden  and  filing 
a  complaint.  She  was  put  on  a  PDP  by  Principal  Paden.  She  recalled  Paden  stating,  "If  I'm  on  a 
PDP,  you're  going  to  be  on  a  PDP,"  and  "Walmart  is  hiring."  It  was  important  to  Principal 
Paden  to  meet  targets  and  "make  the  floor." 

2.  Linda  Paden  (Principal) 

We  interviewed  Linda  Paden  two  times  and  she  was  represented  by  counsel.  Principal 
Paden  stated  she  was  not  aware  of  cheating  and  that  no  reports  of  cheating  had  been  brought  to 
her  attention.     Regarding  Testing  Coordinator  Sheila  Maxwell's  allegations  in  the  OIR 


182 


complaint,  Principal  Paden  claimed  that  Maxwell  was  mistaken  that  the  test  materials  were  not 
stored  in  the  school  vault.  Principal  Paden  explained  that  in  2009,  she  decided  "for  some  reason" 
to  have  the  test  materials  placed  in  the  school  vault  upon  delivery  to  the  school,  instead  of  the 
conference  room  where  they  were  usually  kept.  She  said  that  the  next  day  they  were  moved  to 
the  conference  room,  but  Maxwell  was  probably  not  aware  they  were  originally  in  the  vault.  The 
only  reason  she  asked  Maxwell  to  sign  the  form  certifying  the  tests  were  placed  into  the  vault 
when  received  at  Finch  was  because  SRT-1  Executive  Director  Davis-Williams  wanted  her 
signature  in  addition  to  the  principal's.  Principal  Paden  denied  "pressuring"  Maxwell  to  sign  the 
form. 

Principal  Paden  admitted  that  she  had  been  placed  on  a  PDP  more  than  once  by  Davis- 
Williams  for  not  meeting  targets.  She  is  presently  on  a  PDP.  She  would  not  say  if  she  felt 
pressure  to  meet  targets.  She  denied  pressuring  teachers  to  meet  targets,  stating  that  the  pressure 
was  just  their  "perception."  Her  teachers  knew  she  was  on  a  PDP.  She  denied  threatening  to  put 
teachers  on  PDPs  for  not  meeting  targets.  She  admitted  telling  teachers  she  "may"  have  to  put 
them  on  PDP's  but  claimed  she  never  put  anyone  on  one.  She  denied  telling  teachers  that 
"Walmart  is  hiring."  She  recalled  somebody  else  saying  that.  Paden  denied  ever  telling  a 
teacher  to  change  a  grade. 

When  asked  why  teachers  were  offered  more  time  with  the  tests  and  told  they  could  not 
turn  them  in  early,  Principal  Paden  speculated  that  teachers  who  finished  early  may  have  been 
sent  back  to  their  class  if  the  testing  coordinator  had  not  gotten  to  the  conference  room  to  receive 
the  tests.  She  admitted  coming  in  and  out  of  the  conference  room  while  stray  marks  were  erased 
from  answer  sheets  by  teachers.  She  could  not  recall  if  teachers  had  the  test  booklets  in  addition 
to  the  answer  sheets. 

F.        Other  Evidence 

•  In  2007-2008,  Finch  met  AYP  and  received  the  APS  2008  Bronze  Award 
for  Greatest  Gain  in  Percentage  of  Students  Meeting  and  Exceeding 
Standards. 

•  In  2008-2009,  Finch  met  AYP  and  was  a  "distinguished  school." 

•  In  2009-2010,  Finch  did  not  meet  AYP  or  district  targets. 

•  Principal  Linda  Paden  was  consistently  on  PDPs  for  low  test  scores  and 
not  meeting  targets.  She  could  not  recall  how  often  her  targets  had  been 
met. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Finch.  Danielle  Jackson, 
Richanda  Williams,  and  Ashley  Daniel  confessed  to  cheating.  Daniel  believes  that  other 
teachers  were  also  erasing  answers.  Other  teachers  denied  cheating;  however,  based  upon  the 
statistical  improbability  of  the  erasures  in  their  classrooms  and  the  inconsistent  testimony 


183 


provided  by  them,  we  conclude  that  Sharona  Thomas- Wilson,  Curtis  Collier,  Joya  Florence,  and 
Tyrone  Shorter  also  cheated. 

While  there  is  no  evidence  that  Testing  Coordinator  Sheila  Maxwell  or  Principal  Paden 
erased  and  changed  students'  answers  themselves,  Maxwell's  actions  facilitated  cheating  when 
the  tests  were  in  her  custody.  Principal  Paden  and  Sheila  Maxwell  improperly  offered  teachers 
more  time  with  the  tests  and  refused  to  allow  those  who  finished  testing  early  to  turn  in  the  tests, 
which  allowed  time  to  cheat.  Maxwell  was  adamant  that  stray  marks  had  to  be  cleared  from  the 
tests,  yet  backed  away  from  responsibility  for  verifying  that  it  had  been  done.  She  seemed  to 
recall  that  all  teachers  reported  to  the  conference  room,  yet  claimed  not  to  notice  what  they  were 
erasing  in  her  presence.  Her  lack  of  supervision  and  apparent  willingness  to  turn  a  blind  eye 
facilitated  cheating  by  at  least  one  teacher  who  confessed  that  she  erased  in  the  presence  of  her 
peers. 

It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  that  Principal  Paden 
failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test 
security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously 
reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


184 


COAN  MIDDLE  SCHOOL 


1550  Hosea  L.  Williams  Dr.  NE  Principal:  Dr.  Andre  Williams  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  GA  303 17- 1902  Testing  Coordinator:  Wayne  Campbell 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Coan  Middle  in  2009.  Twenty-one  people  were 
interviewed  at  Coan,  some  more  than  once.  One  teacher  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at 
Coan  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a  confession,  and  witness  testimony. 
Principal  Andre  Williams  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2011) 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

31.4 

3.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

16 

2 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

8(4) 

2 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

18.1 

3.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

33 

3.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

10.8 

3.2 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

BARNETT 

6  RD 

23.01393141 

BARNETT 

6  LA 

20.28747089 

BARNETT 

6  MA 

23.00039919 

HAWK 

6  MA 

24.79023205 

SOUTHALL 

6  MA 

33.06486997 

STUCKEY 

6  RD 

10.81191503 

STUCKEY 

6  LA 

11.28838549 

STUCKEY 

6  MA 

12.52164359 

I.  ARE 

7  MA 

23.74792961 

TOLIVER 

7  MA 

28.63176724 

USHRY 

7  RD 

14.46301261 

USHRY 

7  LA 

13.28241752 

USHRY 

7  MA 

15.17633931 

WALLER 

8  RD 

12.51678332 

WALLER 

8  LA 

11.5333268 

WALLER 

8  MA 

11.74704368 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  significant  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Coan  Middle  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 


185 


First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  3 1 .4%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from 
31.4%  to  3.3%. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  State  of  Georgia  taking  the 
2009  CRCT,  only  21  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Coan  Middle 
School. 

Third,  of  the  16  flagged  classrooms  at  Coan,  all  16  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded 
ten.  At  ten  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without 
adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the 
deviations  from  the  state  mean  were,  for  all  of  the  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on 
a  broad  scale  at  Coan  Middle  School. 

Fourth,  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  74%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  31.4%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  Principal  Andre  Williams  created  an  environment  that  encouraged  cheating.  He 
threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  if  CRCT  scores  did  not  improve.  Classroom  doors  were  closed 
during  testing,  giving  teachers  privacy  needed  to  cheat.  He  allowed  teachers  to  instruct  the 
parents  of  low-performing  students  to  keep  their  children  home  from  school  during  CRCT 
testing  so  teachers  could  cheat  for  those  students. 

B.  Narrative 

In  2009,  special  education  teachers  at  Coan  cheated  during  the  administration  of  the 
CRCT  by  using  voice  inflection,  pointing  out  key  words,  or  teaching  the  CRCT  as  if  it  were  a 
class  lesson.  Teachers  also  improperly  allowed  students  additional  time  to  complete  the  CRCT. 
Teachers  cheated  because  they  feared  job  loss  or  being  placed  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores. 

Coan  students  struggled  in  math  and  Principal  Andre  Williams  constantly  emphasized 
improving  math  scores.  Ron  Washington,  who  served  as  testing  coordinator  while  Dr.  Wayne 
Campbell  was  on  leave,  was  the  lead  special  education  teacher.  Washington  instructed  at  least 
one  teacher  to  call  parents  and  tell  them  to  keep  their  child  at  home  during  testing  or  to  bring 
them  later  in  the  day  for  makeup  testing.  These  students  were  typically  lower  performing 
students,  but  not  those  with  testing  accommodations.  The  teacher  explained  to  the  parents  that 
the  children  could  not  test  with  his  or  her  regular  class  due  to  "behavioral  issues."  A  teacher 
observed  Washington,  Dr.  Campbell,  and  Principal  Williams'  cars  at  the  school  late  one  evening 
during  test  week. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Alicia  Waller  (Teacher) 

Alicia  Waller  stated  that  Washington,  the  lead  special  education  teacher  and  the  acting 
test  coordinator  for  the  first  two  days  of  the  2009  CRCT  testing  period,  instructed  her  to  call 
parents  of  children  she  feared  would  perform  poorly,  and  tell  them  to  either  keep  their  child 


186 


home  from  school  during  testing  or  to  send  them  to  school  late.  Washington  told  Waller  that  she 
should  test  these  "late"  or  "absent"  students  in  a  small  group,  make-up  session  outside  of  their 
regular  class.  Waller  tested  those  students  in  a  small  group  on  multiple  occasions. 

Waller  saw  Washington's,  Principal  Williams'  and  Testing  Coordinator  Campbell's 
vehicles  at  the  school  late  one  evening  during  test  week. 

Test  booklets  and  answer  documents  remained  in  the  school  long  after  testing  ended. 
During  one  year,  Waller  was  told  to  give  a  student  a  test  after  make-up  testing  was  already  over. 

Principal  Williams  told  Waller  to  make  sure  that  all  students  passed  the  test.  Waller 
confessed  to  using  voice  inflection,  pointing  out  key  words  and  using  strategic  pauses  to  prompt 
her  students  to  answer  correctly.  When  one  particular  student  did  not  pick  up  on  her  voice 
inflection,  Waller  admitted  helping  out  that  student  more  than  the  others.  Waller  could  prompt 
students  in  this  way,  since  classroom  doors  remained  closed  during  testing.  Waller  also  admitted 
to  allowing  students  more  time  than  was  allotted  for  the  test  because  no  one  monitored  the  time. 

Waller  witnessed  another  special  education  teacher,  Johnson  Stuckey,  prompting  his 
students  to  the  right  answers  on  the  CRCT.  Stuckey  sat  down  at  a  table  with  his  students  and 
administered  the  CRCT  as  if  it  were  a  lesson.  Stuckey  told  Waller  that  he  was  doing  this 
because  Principal  Williams  wanted  the  students  to  pass  and  that  they  had  to  do  this  in  order  to 
make  AYP. 

Waller  said  Principal  Williams  put  tremendous  pressure  on  the  teachers.  He  threatened 
teachers  constantly  with  PDPs,  and  people  who  did  not  comply  with  administrators'  wishes  were 
transferred  to  other  schools.  Waller  lived  in  fear  every  year  that  her  contract  would  not  be 
renewed. 

2.  Cynthia  Ushry  (Teacher) 

Cynthia  Ushry  stated  she  was  not  at  school  during  testing  in  2008-2009  because  she  was 
in  the  hospital.  She  could  not  understand  how  her  class  was  flagged  if  she  was  not  at  the  school. 
Ushry  heard  that  Principal  Williams  solicited  people  to  stay  at  school  after  hours  and  help 
change  the  tests.  According  to  Ushry,  Ron  Washington  and  Principal  Williams  were  very  close. 
Ushry  recalled  parents  coming  to  the  school  complaining  about  being  told  to  keep  their  children 
home  during  the  CRCT. 

3.  Francine  Greer  (Assistant  Principal) 

Francine  Greer  said  Principal  Williams  put  pressure  on  teachers  to  make  targets.  Greer 
wondered  how  certain  schools  were  able  to  make  targets  and  she  noticed  that,  over  time,  more 
and  more  schools  seemed  to  be  hitting  targets.  She  voiced  concerns  that  the  closet  in  Dr. 
Campbell's  office  where  the  tests  were  stored  was  accessible  by  a  master  key.  She  raised  this 
question  during  an  administrative  meeting  where  Williams,  Campbell  and  Washington  were 
present.  Greer  felt  that  they  did  not  take  her  concerns  seriously,  but  eventually  the  lock  was  re- 
keyed.  Greer  denied  that  any  students  not  entitled  to  special  testing  accommodation  were  tested 
in  small  groups.  She  has  no  knowledge  of  administrators  telling  parents  to  keep  their  children 
home  during  test  week. 


187 


4.        Teidra  Yvetta  Hutchings-Hoskins  (Teacher) 


Teidra  Yvetta  Hutchings-Hoskins  recalled  teaching  eighth  grade  students  who  could 
hardly  read,  but  ended  up  scoring  100%  on  the  math  portion  of  the  CRCT.  Because  of  this  type 
of  inconsistency  between  student  abilities  and  their  test  scores,  Hoskins  questioned  what  was 
occurring  at  Coan. 

5.  Deborah  Mills  (Teacher) 

Deborah  Mills  taught  sixth  through  eighth  grade  language  arts,  reading  and  social  studies 
at  Coan  from  1994  until  2005.  When  Principal  Williams  arrived  at  Coan,  Mills  became 
uncomfortable  with  changes  at  the  school.  She  and  other  teachers  were  amazed  by  the 
performance  of  some  students  on  the  CRCT,  as  their  high  scores  did  not  seem  to  match  their  low 
performance  in  the  classroom.  Word  spread  around  the  school  that  administrators  changed  the 
students'  answer  documents.  Principal  Williams  heavily  emphasized  making  AYP  and  meeting 
targets. 

6.  Quentin  Southall  (Teacher) 

Quentin  Southall  reported  that  Principal  Williams  would  place  teachers  on  a  PDP  for  low 
test  scores.  Southall  was  surprised  by  the  test  scores  of  some  of  the  special  education  students  in 
that  their  scores  were  much  higher  than  their  apparent  abilities  in  the  classroom.  Southall  heard 
that  Principal  Williams  asked  a  teacher,  Frances  Warner,  to  stay  after  school  one  day  to  change 
students'  CRCT  answer  sheets. 

7.  Deborah  McRae  (Teacher) 

Deborah  McRae  stated  that  while  she  worked  at  Coan,  Principal  Williams  and  Dr. 
Campbell  asked  her  to  promote  students  to  the  next  grade  who  did  not  actually  pass.  She  refused 
to  do  so.  Principal  Williams  advised  McRae  that  if  she  wanted  to  remain  at  Coan,  she  needed  to 
be  more  compliant.  McRae  verbally  reported  her  concerns  to  APS'  Office  of  Internal  Resolution 
(OIR),  but  instead  of  support,  OIR  told  McRae  to  respect  the  authority  of  Principal  Williams. 
McRae  stated  she  also  emailed  Dr.  Beverly  Hall  and  Dr.  Kathy  Augustine,  but  never  received  a 
response.  McRae  advised  that  Principal  Williams  told  Waller  to  contact  several  parents  of  her 
students  and  tell  them  to  keep  their  child  at  home  during  CRCT  testing.  Williams  told  Waller  to 
tell  parents  the  reason  their  child  had  to  stay  home  was  due  to  behavioral  issues.  These  students 
were  lower  performing  and  not  likely  pass  to  the  CRCT.  McRae  stated  that  Waller  complied 
with  Williams'  instruction  and  that  ultimately  some  parents  came  to  the  school  and  complained. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Dr.  Andre  Williams  (Principal) 

Principal  Williams  previously  worked  in  the  New  York  school  system  where  Dr.  Beverly 
Hall  recruited  him  to  come  to  Atlanta.  Williams  became  Principal  at  Coan  in  2005,  but  was 
terminated  in  2009. 


188 


Principal  Williams  denied  cheating.  He  told  investigators  he  had  no  motive  to  cheat 
because  at  the  time  of  the  2009  CRCT,  he  had  already  accepted  another  job  in  another  district. 
However,  Williams  stated  that  "cheating  is  so  intertwined  in  Atlanta  Public  Schools."  It  is  "such 
a  part  of  what  the  culture  is  all  about."  Everyone  knows  that  cheating  is  going  on.  Principals 
joke  about  cheating  at  their  meetings.  Everyone  knows  about  the  cheating  at  Parks.  The  APS 
Administration  conducted  "investigations"  into  cheating  over  the  years,  but  nothing  ever 
happened. 

In  2006,  after  his  first  year  at  APS,  Principal  Williams  claimed  that  he  filed  an  OIR 
complaint  about  the  test  scores  at  Coan  because  so  many  students  passed  when  there  was  "no 
way  in  hell"  they  could  have  passed.  Students  might  actually  increase  their  scores  by  five  points 
in  a  year,  but  not  by  15  or  20.  He  stated  that  Colinda  Howard  from  OIR  came  to  Coan  and 
investigated.  She  ultimately  told  Principal  Williams  that  the  students  performed  well  due  to  his 
work. 

Principal  Williams  thought  he  cleaned  up  the  cheating  when  he  arrived  at  Coan,  which 
explains  why  Coan's  test  scores  dropped.  He  heard  about  how  the  cheating  occurred  in  2009. 
Ron  Washington  wanted  to  be  assistant  principal  and  Williams  heard  that  Washington  changed 
the  tests  after  testing  was  over.  The  majority  of  the  erasures  were  in  special  education,  and 
Washington,  the  special  education  administrator,  had  served  as  the  testing  coordinator  for  the 
first  three  days  of  CRCT  testing  in  2009. 

According  to  Williams,  to  be  promoted,  you  must  show  growth  in  test  scores.  People 
accomplish  this  goal  "by  any  means  necessary"  in  order  to  get  $100,000  per  year  jobs.  APS  is 
about  movement  and  prestige.  "If  you  cheat,  you  can  move  kids,  you  are  going  to  get 
promoted,"  and  everyone  knows  it.  Principal  Williams  stated  he  could  get  a  meeting  with  the 
President  before  he  could  see  Dr.  Hall. 

2.  Dr.  Wayne  Campbell  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Dr.  Campbell  moved  to  Jamaica.  We  attempted  to  reach  him  by  telephone,  but  he  did  not 
return  our  calls. 

3.  Johnson  Stuckey  (Teacher) 

We  attempted  to  reach  Johnson  Stuckey  for  an  interview  but  received  no  response. 

4.  Ron  Washington  (Special  Education  Administrator) 

Ron  Washington  denied  any  participation  in,  or  knowledge  of,  cheating.  During  the  first 
two  days  of  the  2009  CRCT,  Washington  had  sole  access  to  the  tests,  but  said  he  secured  the 
tests  each  day.  He  acknowledged  that  it  was  easier  to  change  tests  if  students  were  pulled  for 
small  group  testing.  During  his  second  interview,  Washington  acknowledged  that  some  students 
were  taken  to  the  cafeteria  to  take  the  re-test  if  they  were  a  "big  disruption."  He  states  this  only 
occurred  a  few  times  during  the  years  he  was  at  Coan.  He  denied  instructing  any  teachers  to 
contact  parents  and  tell  them  not  to  bring  the  child  to  school.  Washington  said  he  was  aware  that 
Waller  called  parents,  but  that  she  either  did  so  on  her  own,  or  another  administrator  directed  her 


189 


to  do  so.  Washington  stated  he  questioned  Alicia  Waller  about  her  actions,  but  did  not  recall 
what  explanation  she  offered. 

E.        Other  Evidence 

•  In  2007-2008  and  2008-2009,  Coan  met  AYP.  In  20 1 0,  Coan  did  not  meet 
AYP. 

•  Between  2009  and  2010  Coan  saw  a  double  digit  increase  (11%,  13%  and 
23%)  in  the  number  of  students  across  sixth,  seventh,  and  eighth  grades, 
respectively,  that  failed  math  on  the  CRCT. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Alicia  Waller  cheated  on  the  CRCT.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Andre 
Williams  and  Ron  Washington  knew  of  and  allowed  cheating  at  Coan. 

Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  the  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar 
statistical  data,  we  believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  cheated.  However,  we  lack  sufficient 
evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

We  also  conclude  Ron  Washington  instructed  a  teacher  to  tell  parents  of  certain  low- 
performing  children  to  keep  their  children  home  during  testing  or  bring  them  to  school  late. 
These  students  were  then  tested  in  a  small  group.  Although  Washington  denied  he  gave  this 
instruction,  he  was  aware  that  Waller  had  done  this,  but  apparently  took  no  action.  He  also 
admitted  that  "behavior  problem"  students  would  be  pulled  out  and  tested  in  a  small  group. 

We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Andre  Williams  failed  in  his  ultimate  responsibility 
for  testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the 
2009  CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation  that  Principal  Williams  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


190 


203 


DOBBS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 

2025  Jonesboro  Road  Principal:  Dana  Evans  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Warren  Edwards 


I.  INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Dobbs  Elementary  in  2009  and  other  years.  Fifty-four 
people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Four  teachers  confessed  to 
cheating.  Cheating  at  Dobbs  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions 
and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Dana  Evans  was  one  of  the  few  APS  employees  to  accept 
responsibility  for  cheating  that  occurred  in  her  school,  and  she  is  to  be  commended. 
Nevertheless,  she  received  multiple  reports  of  cheating  at  Dobbs  and  therefore  knew  or  should 
have  known  of  the  cheating  occurring  at  this  school. 

II.  STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

33.3 

6.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

30 

6 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(11) 

4(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.3 

3.5 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

21.3 

4.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Since  2005,  cheating  on  the  CRCT  has  occurred  at  Dobbs  Elementary.  Under  the 
administration  of  the  previous  principal,  Carolyn  Brown,  CRCT  materials  were  improperly 
returned  to  teachers  after  testing  hours.  Wanda  Harmon  brought  the  CRCT  answer  sheets  and 
test  booklets  around  on  a  cart,  distributed  them  to  teachers,  and  picked  them  up  the  next  day. 
Thus  teachers  had  possession  of  both  the  testing  booklet  and  CRCT  student  answer  sheets 
outside  the  testing  period,  and  were  able  to  erase  and  change  students'  answers. 

Principal  Evans  became  principal  in  2007,  and  cheating  continued  at  Dobbs  under  her 
leadership,  but  not  at  her  direction.  She  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating,  but  accepts 
professional  responsibility  for  all  cheating  that  occurred  at  Dobbs  during  her  tenure  as  principal. 
We  commend  her  for  accepting  responsibility  -  she  is  one  of  the  few  in  APS  to  do  so. 

Principal  Evans  regularly  employed  volunteer  proctors  (generally  parents)  who  had  no 
training  in  test  administration.  At  least  one  teacher  witnessed  a  parent-proctor  prompting 
students  on  the  CRCT. 


191 


Multiple  fifth  grade  teachers  testified  that  their  incoming  students  lacked  the  skills 
required  to  score  as  highly  as  they  did  on  their  fourth  grade  CRCT.  Fourth  grade  teachers, 
Derrick  Broadwater,  Shayla  Smith,  and  Angela  Williamson  prompted  their  students  to  change 
answers  during  the  administration  of  the  CRCT.  Angela  Williamson  threatened  students  by 
telling  them  they  would  have  to  repeat  the  fourth  grade  if  they  ever  told  of  the  cheating. 

In  addition  to  prompting,  Derrick  Broadwater  and  Shayla  Smith  possessed  a  photocopy 
of  the  CRCT.  They  used  the  photocopy  to  prepare  students  for  the  upcoming  questions  on  the 
CRCT.  Derrick  Broadwater  and  Angela  Williamson  confessed  to  prompting  students  during  the 
administration  of  the  CRCT. 

Shayla  Smith  prompted  Danielle  Blair's  students  on  the  2010  CRCT.  Shayla  Smith  said 
to  another  teacher  "I  had  to  give  them  [her  students]  the  answers,  those  kids  were  dumb  as  hell." 

Arlette  Crump,  a  second  grade  teacher,  prompted  students  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Dessa 
Curb,  a  special  education  teacher,  prompted  students  on  the  CRCT.  Two  paraprofessionals 
assigned  to  Dessa  Curb's  classroom  all  testified  that  Curb  not  only  prompted,  but  also  erased  and 
changed  students'  answer  sheets. 

Sidnye  Fells,  who  is  no  longer  with  APS,  spoke  to  Principal  Evans  about  her  suspicions 
that  the  fourth  grade  team  cheated,  and  about  testing  violations  at  Dobbs  in  general.  Principal 
Evans  changed  the  subject  and  took  no  action.  Malcolm  Brooks,  who  is  no  longer  with  APS, 
also  spoke  to  Principal  Evans  about  his  suspicions  of  cheating  by  the  fourth  grade  team. 
Principal  Evans  told  Brooks  that  the  fourth  grade  teachers  simply  had  a  rapport  with  their 
students  and  knew  how  to  motivate  them. 

Naomi  Williams  told  Principal  Evans  about  Curb's  cheating,  but  Principal  Evans  took  no 
action  and  instead  fired  Williams. 

Principal  Evans  instructed  Tameka  Grant  to  falsify  CRCT  records  to  indicate  that 
students  who  failed  to  meet  expectations  in  2009  received  remedial  help  when  they  received  no 
such  help.  Tameka  Grant  met  with  GBI  agents  pursuant  to  this  investigation,  and  informed  them 
of  Principal  Evans'  instruction.  Tameka  Grant  said  she  was  terminated  by  Principal  Evans  a  few 
days  later. 

Principal  Evans  informed  teachers  at  a  staff  meeting  that  if  she  were  placed  on  a  PDP  for 
low  test  scores,  she  would  place  every  teacher  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores  as  well. 

Teachers  suspected  cheating  at  Dobbs,  but  did  not  report  it  for  fear  of  retaliation.  SRT-2 
Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts,  speaking  about  this  investigation,  told  the  teachers,  "If  you 
know  something  you  are  incriminating  yourselves."  Michael  Pitts  also  said  that  some  teachers  at 
other  schools  had  attempted  to  retaliate  against  a  principal  and  that  these  teachers  told  the  GBI 
about  "all  this  stuff  that  principal  had  done,  "and  guess  what,  that  principal  is  still  there." 


192 


B. 


Testimony  of  Witnesses 


1. 


Vera  Yates  (Teacher) 


Vera  Yates  proctored  the  2009  CRCT  in  Angela  Williamson's  classroom.  Yates  saw 
Williamson  prompt  students  to  change  incorrect  answers  during  the  administration  of  the  test. 
Williamson  walked  around  the  classroom,  stood  over  students'  shoulders,  and  pointed  to  the 
correct  answers.  Williamson  instructed  Yates:  "You  didn't  see  that."  Williamson  gave  answers 
to  the  children  she  knew  would  perform  poorly  on  the  CRCT. 

During  the  week  of  the  2009  CRCT,  Yates  saw  Principal  Evans  and  Assistant  Principal 
Mario  Watkins  in  Principal  Evans'  conference  room  after  school  with  the  CRCT  materials. 
Principal  Evans  was  seated  at  a  table  with  a  pencil  in  her  hand  and  a  stack  of  CRCT  booklets  in 
front  of  her.  Mario  Watkins  stood  beside  Principal  Evans.  Yates  made  eye  contact  with 
Principal  Evans,  and  quickly  walked  away.  Yates  never  spoke  with  Principal  Evans  about  the 
incident.  Yates  stated  that  her  performance  reviews  steadily  declined  after  she  witnessed 
Principal  Evans  and  Watkins  in  the  conference  room  with  a  stack  of  CRCT  booklets.  Shortly 
thereafter,  Yates'  contract  was  non-renewed.  Yates  believes  Principal  Evans  is  retaliating 
against  her  because  of  what  she  witnessed. 


Diane  Brewer  is  a  retired  teacher  that  often  substitute  teaches  at  Dobbs.  Brewer  stated 
there  are  many  allegations  at  Dobbs  that  the  fourth  grade  teachers,  Derrick  Broadwater,  Shayla 
Smith,  and  Angela  Williamson  cheat  on  the  CRCT.  Diane  Brewer  further  stated  that  many  fifth 
grade  teachers  expressed  frustration  to  her  because  the  incoming  former  fourth  grade  students 
could  not  perform  at  a  fifth  grade  level. 


Tameka  Grant  began  working  at  Dobbs  in  October  of  2009.  Immediately  upon  her 
assignment  to  the  fourth  grade,  she  began  receiving  warnings  and  hearing  that  other  teachers  on 
the  fourth  grade  team  were  known  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT. 

Shayla  Smith  administered  the  2010  CRCT  to  the  students  of  Danielle  Blair,  a  new 
teacher  in  2009-2010.  Tameka  Grant  testified  that  Danielle  Blair's  students  were  some  of  the 
lowest  performers  at  Dobbs  on  the  benchmark  exams,  but  scored  among  the  highest  classrooms 
on  the  CRCT. 

Principal  Evans  instructed  Tameka  Grant  to  falsify  records  to  indicate  that  students  who 
failed  to  meet  expectations  on  the  2009  CRCT  received  remedial  instruction,  even  if  the  students 
did  not  receive  such  instruction.  Tameka  Grant  further  testified  that  Principal  Evans  told  all 
teachers  that  if  Principal  Evans  was  placed  on  a  PDP  by  Michael  Pitts  for  low  CRCT  scores,  then 
Principal  Evans  would  place  every  teacher  on  a  PDP  as  well. 

Tameka  Grant  was  interviewed  by  the  GBI  on  February  9,  201 1 .  On  February  11,  201 1, 
Principal  Evans  informed  Tameka  Grant  that  her  contract  would  not  be  renewed  with  APS  for 
the  upcoming  school  year. 


2. 


Diane  Brewer  (Substitute  Teacher) 


3. 


Tameka  Grant  (Teacher) 


193 


4.       Arlette  Crump  (Teacher) 


Arlette  Crump  stated  that  "certain  people  at  the  school  have  a  habit  of  cheating."  She 
was  referring  to  allegations  that  Shayla  Smith,  Derrick  Broadwater,  and  Angela  Williamson 
cheated  on  the  CRCT.  Crump  testified  that  two  students  told  her  that  the  fourth  grade  teachers 
cheated  on  the  CRCT  in  2009.  Specifically,  the  students  told  Arlette  Crump  that  Derrick 
Broadwater  and  Angela  Williamson  took  them  to  the  science  lab  before  the  CRCT  and 
"prepped"  them  with  a  copy  of  the  CRCT.  The  students  told  Arlette  Crump  that  the  photocopied 
test  had  the  words  "CRCT  DO  NOT  COPY"  printed  on  it.  The  students  told  Crump  that  Angela 
Williamson  threatened  the  students  that  if  they  ever  told,  they  would  have  to  go  back  and  repeat 
the  fourth  grade. 

The  father  of  one  student  contacted  Crump  and  relayed  the  story  to  her  as  well.  Crump 
reported  the  cheating  to  Principal  Evans.  Principal  Evans'  response  to  Arlette  Crump  was  that 
she  did  not  know  how  that  could  have  happened  since  there  were  monitors  in  the  classroom. 
Principal  Evans  asked  Crump  if  she  knew  of  any  other  cheating.  Crump  told  Principal  Evans 
that  she  had  heard  Broadwater  and  Williamson  gave  students  answers  during  testing  and  that 
Smith  had  taken  the  accelerated  reading  test  herself  in  place  of  her  students. 

Crump  thinks  that  word  must  have  gotten  back  to  Broadwater  because  one  of  the  students 
later  told  Crump  that  Broadwater  told  the  students  that  the  test  was  a  coaching  manual  and  not  a 
copy  of  the  CRCT. 

Crump  admits  to  "bumping"  students'  desks  when  she  noticed  a  wrong  answer  on  the 
CRCT  and  instructing  the  student  to  "look  at  that  again."  She  stated  that  Principal  Evans 
"silently  condones"  cheating. 

5.  Brook  Hanson  (Teacher) 

Brook  Hanson  stated  that  many  of  her  incoming  fifth  grade  students  performed  at  a  much 
lower  level  than  their  fourth  grade  CRCT  scores  indicated.  Hanson  stated  that  Principal  Evans 
informed  the  teachers  that  if  she  were  placed  on  a  PDP  by  Michael  Pitts  for  low  CRCT  scores, 
then  Principal  Evans  would  place  all  teachers  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores  as  well. 

6.  Francis  Leach  (Teacher) 

The  same  student  who  told  Arlette  Crump  about  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  told  Francis 
Leach  that  Angela  Williamson  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Leach  also  heard  claims  at  Dobbs 
that  Shayla  Smith,  Derrick  Broadwater,  and  Angela  Williamson  cheated  on  the  CRCT.  Vera 
Yates  told  Leach  that  Williamson  prompted  students  with  correct  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT 
while  Yates  proctored  in  Williamson's  classroom.  Leach  also  stated  that  Dessa  Curb's  students 
always  performed  well  on  the  CRCT,  but  most  of  them  could  not  read. 

Leach  feared  that  he  would  lose  his  job  if  he  reported  cheating.  Leach  stated  that  he 
called  an  Atlanta  Journal-Constitution  reporter  to  report  cheating  within  Dobbs.  The  reporter 
emailed  Leach  at  his  APS  email  address,  causing  Leach  to  fear  APS  would  discover  he  reported 
cheating,  so  he  never  spoke  to  the  reporter.  Leach  stated  that,  while  attending  a  professional 
development  workshop,  an  APS  official,  identified  only  as  Dr.  Washington,  instructed  teachers 


194 


that  they  "were  not  to  blast  APS"  when  interviewed,  and  that  teachers  were  "only  to  answer  the 
questions  asked." 

7.  Binta  Moncur  (Teacher) 

Binta  Moncur  testified  that  several  teachers  warned  her  about  cheating  in  the  fourth  grade 
when  she  began  at  Dobbs  in  2008.  She  also  received  warnings  to  stay  away  from  Derrick 
Broadwater,  Angela  Williamson,  and  Shayla  Smith.  Malcolm  Brooks,  another  teacher, 
explained  to  Moncur  that  Broadwater,  Smith,  and  Williamson  copied  the  CRCT  and  used  it  to 
cheat.  Brooks  also  informed  Moncur  that  the  teacher  she  replaced  refused  to  participate  in  the 
cheating  scheme,  and  no  longer  teaches  at  Dobbs. 

During  the  week  of  CRCT  testing  in  2009,  Broadwater  and  Smith  approached  Moncur 
and  asked  her  how  many  of  her  students  would  exceed  standards  on  the  CRCT.  Moncur  was 
confused  by  the  question,  since  it  was  impossible  to  tell  midway  through  testing  how  many 
students  would  exceed  standards.  Smith  had  a  sheet  of  paper  and  was  poised  to  write  down 
Moncur' s  answer. 

8.  Danielle  Blair  (Teacher) 

Shayla  Smith  administered  the  2010  CRCT  to  Danielle  Blair's  students.  Danielle  Blair 
testified  that  one  of  her  students  told  her  and  the  entire  class  that  Smith  gave  that  student  answers 
on  the  CRCT.  Blair  spoke  to  Smith,  and  Smith  confirmed  the  student's  story.  Blair  recounted  a 
conversation  she  had  with  Schajuan  Jones,  a  fifth  grade  teacher  who  taught  Shayla  Smith's 
former  fourth  grade  students  in  2010.  Jones  stated  that  Shayla  Smith's  former  students  could  not 
perform  at  the  level  they  performed  for  Shayla  Smith  on  common  assessments  in  Jones' 
classroom. 

9.  Naomi  Williams  (Paraprofessional) 

Naomi  Williams  was  a  paraprofessional  assigned  to  Dessa  Curb's  classroom.  During  the 
2009  CRCT  window,  but  after  the  testing  period,  Williams  witnessed  Curb  erasing  and  changing 
students'  answer  sheets.  Curb  kept  the  tests  approximately  two  hours  after  the  testing  period 
ended.  Williams  gave  the  investigators  photographs  that  depict  Curb's  CRCT  test  booklets  and 
answer  sheets  spread  out  on  a  table  in  preparation  for  erasing.  The  photographs  are  included  as 
Attachment  A.  Curb  instructed  Williams  to  take  a  particular  student  to  the  back  of  the 
classroom  "and  erase  this  mess  and  get  with  [the  student]  about  the  right  answers."  Williams 
witnessed  Principal  Evans  in  the  classroom  after  the  testing  period  when  the  CRCT  booklets  and 
answer  sheets  were  still  in  the  classroom. 

Williams  reported  Curb's  actions  to  Principal  Evans,  but  she  "acted  like  she  didn't  want 
to  hear  it."  Later  that  day,  Principal  Evans  called  Williams'  home  and  told  her  son  that  Williams 
was  not  to  report  to  Dobbs,  and  instead  to  report  to  the  downtown  office.  Williams  was 
terminated  from  APS. 


195 


10. 


Erica  Gober  (Paraprofessional) 


Erica  Gober  took  the  photographs  included  as  Attachment  A  on  her  cellular  telephone. 
Gober  was  assigned  to  Curb's  classroom  after  Naomi  Williams  was  disciplined  at  Dobbs  in 
2009.  Gober  stated  that  because  she  heard  that  Curb  cheated  on  the  CRCT,  she  took  the  pictures 
so  she  would  not  later  be  accused  of  tampering  with  the  CRCT  materials.  Gober  stated  that  she 
took  the  pictures  when  Curb  improperly  left  the  classroom  to  take  the  students  to  their  next  class. 

Gober  heard  that  fourth  grade  teachers  and  Curb  cheated  on  the  CRCT.  She  also  heard 
that  Williams  tried  to  report  cheating  to  Principal  Evans  and  was  terminated. 


Sidnye  Fells  was  a  fourth  and  fifth  grade  teacher  at  Dobbs  from  2005  to  2008,  when  she 
resigned.  Fells  served  under  Principal  Dana  Evans,  and  her  predecessor,  Carolyn  Brown.  On 
February  18,  2010,  after  reading  a  news  story  about  cheating  in  APS,  Fells  sent  a  letter  detailing 
the  cheating  she  witnessed  at  Dobbs  to  John  Grant  of  the  Professional  Standards  Commission.  A 
copy  of  that  letter  is  included  as  Attachment  B. 

Fells  was  instructed  by  Carolyn  Brown  to  mark  every  student  present  at  Dobbs  even  if 
they  were  absent.  Fells  refused,  and  marked  her  students  absent  when  they  were  absent.  On  at 
least  one  occasion,  Fells'  attendance  records  were  altered.  Fells  took  a  picture  of  one  of  the 
altered  attendance  records,  and  a  copy  is  included  as  Attachment  C. 

Principal  Evans  often  assigned  volunteer  proctors  for  the  CRCT.  The  volunteers  were 
not  trained  in  any  way,  and  Fells  witnessed  at  least  one  volunteer  proctor  prompting  students  to 
change  their  answers  on  the  CRCT.  Under  Principal  Evans'  administration,  CRCT  materials 
were  not  counted  at  the  end  of  the  testing  period,  allowing  teachers  to  retain  copies  of  the  CRCT. 
Principal  Evans  did  not  make  announcements  over  the  intercom  system  telling  the  teachers  when 
testing  was  over.  As  a  consequence,  teachers  improperly  kept  their  tests  after  the  testing  period, 
and  allowed  their  students  to  work  on  the  test  longer  than  the  allotted  time.  Fells  voiced  her 
concerns  to  Principal  Evans,  but  no  changes  were  made. 

Fells  recalls  a  specific  special  education  student  who  scored  higher  than  any  other  student 
in  the  school  on  the  reading  section  of  the  CRCT.  Fells  heard  that  the  special  education  teachers 
read  the  CRCT  to  their  students  and  used  voice  inflection  to  cheat.  Fells  stated  that  she  no 
longer  fears  retaliation  since  she  is  no  longer  employed  by  APS,  but  that  other  teachers  would  be 
afraid  to  be  truthful. 


The  skills  of  fifth  grade  students  entering  Malcolm  Brooks'  class  did  not  match  their 
performance  on  the  fourth  grade  CRCT.  One  student  could  barely  read  or  perform  basic 
computations  and  exceeded  standards  across  the  board  on  his  fourth  grade  CRCT.  Malcolm 
Brooks  believes  Derrick  Broadwater,  Shayla  Smith,  and  Angela  Williamson  cheated  on  these 
students'  fourth  grade  CRCT  exams.  Brooks  met  with  Principal  Evans  to  discuss  his  concerns. 
Principal  Evans  stated  that  the  fourth  grade  teachers  had  a  rapport  with  their  students  and  were 
able  to  motivate  them  in  ways  Brooks  could  not. 


11. 


Sidnye  Fells  (Teacher) 


12. 


Malcolm  Brooks  (Teacher) 


196 


Brooks  left  the  APS  system  and  now  teaches  in  North  Carolina.  One  reason  he  left  APS 
was  because  APS  was  "selling  these  kids  short,"  by  "giving  them  a  false  sense  of 
accomplishment." 

13.  Anthony  Greene  (Teacher) 

Anthony  Greene  stated  that  incoming  fifth  grade  students  performed  at  a  lower  level  than 
their  fourth  grade  CRCT  score  would  indicate.  He  testified  that  he  and  other  fifth  grade  teachers 
believe  the  fourth  grade  teachers  cheated  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  other  years. 

14.  Mario  Watkins  (Assistant  Principal) 

Assistant  Principal  Watkins  stated  that  Principal  Evans  did  not  place  teachers  on  PDPs 
for  low  test  scores.  He  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  or  in  any  other 
year.  When  he  viewed  the  wrong-to-right  data,  including  the  standard  deviations  for  the  teachers 
at  Dobbs,  he  stated  "it's  on  them,"  indicating  that  only  the  teachers  were  involved  in  any 
cheating  at  Dobbs. 

75.      Schajuan  Jones  (Teacher) 

Jones  heard  Shayla  Smith  yelling  at  a  student  because  the  student  told  people  that  Smith 
cheated  on  the  CRCT.  She  also  heard  Smith  tell  another  teacher,  "1  had  to  give  them  [her 
students]  the  answers,  those  kids  are  dumb  as  hell." 

Jones  heard  a  student  tell  Principal  Evans  that  Smith  was  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  2010. 
That  same  week,  Jones  overheard  two  students  discussing  how  Smith  gave  them  answers  on  the 
CRCT. 

C.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

7.        Derrick  Broadwater  (Teacher) 

Derrick  Broadwater  admitted  he  prompted  students  to  re-read  particular  questions  he 
noticed  they  answered  incorrectly  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  in  other  years.  Broadwater  testified  he 
was  forced  to  prompt  students  to  change  their  answers  on  the  CRCT  because  when  the  students 
came  into  his  class  from  the  third  grade,  their  skills  were  far  below  the  expected  level. 
Broadwater  stated  that  at  the  time  he  prompted  students  he  did  not  believe  it  was  wrong  or  a 
testing  violation,  but  he  has  since  realized  it  was  wrong  and  a  testing  violation. 

Principal  Evans  told  all  teachers  that  if  she  was  placed  on  a  PDP  by  Michael  Pitts  for  low 
CRCT  scores,  then  every  teacher  would  be  placed  on  a  PDP  as  well. 

Broadwater  described  a  meeting  between  the  teachers  at  Dobbs  and  Pitts  during  the  201 0- 
2011  school  year.  In  that  meeting,  Michael  Pitts  told  the  teachers  that  with  regard  to  being 
interviewed  for  this  investigation,  "If  you  know  something  you  are  incriminating  yourselves." 
Pitts  went  on  to  say  that  some  teachers  at  other  schools  had  attempted  to  retaliate  against  a 
principal  and  that  these  teachers  told  the  GBI  about  "all  this  stuff  that  principal  had  done,  "and 
guess  what,  that  principal  is  still  there."  Broadwater  interpreted  this  to  mean  that  if  teachers 


197 


report  cheating  to  us  they  are  only  hurting  themselves,  and  that  adverse  action  would  not  be 
taken  against  principals  by  APS. 

2.  Shayla  Smith  (Teacher) 

Shayla  Smith  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating,  and  denied  participating  in  any 
cheating.  Principal  Evans  told  the  Dobbs  teachers  that  if  she  was  placed  on  a  PDP  by  Michael 
Pitts  for  low  CRCT  scores,  then  all  teachers  at  Dobbs  would  be  placed  on  PDPs  as  well. 

3.  Angela  Williamson  (Teacher) 

Angela  Williamson  admitted  to  improperly  prompting  students  during  the  administration 
of  the  2008  and  2009  CRCT  by  telling  the  students  to  "go  back  over"  a  specific  question  when 
the  student  answered  the  question  incorrectly.  She  denied  prompting  any  students  on  the  2007 
CRCT  or  in  any  years  prior.  Angela  Williamson  stated  that  in  2009,  her  proctor,  Tamara  Franco 
also  prompted  students  in  this  way.  Williamson  denied  saying  to  any  of  her  proctors  "you  didn't 
see  that."  Williamson  testified  that  Principal  Evans  never  instructed  her  or  any  other  teacher  to 
cheat.  Williamson  returned  her  CRCT  tests  in  a  particular  order,  and  sometimes  the  next  day  the 
tests  would  be  returned  out  of  order. 

4.  Warren  Edwards  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Warren  Edwards  denies  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT.  He  stated  that  the  only 
way  to  explain  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  Dobbs  was  that  the  teachers  must 
have  given  students  answers  to  the  CRCT  questions  in  the  classroom. 

5.  Dessa  Curb  (Special  Education) 

Dessa  Curb  initially  testified  that  she  never  left  CRCT  materials  alone  with  a 
paraprofessional,  as  that  is  a  testing  violation.  When  confronted  with  the  pictures  taken  by  Erica 
Gober,  she  recanted  her  testimony,  and  stated  that  if  she  had  left  the  room,  she  would  have 
locked  the  CRCT  materials  in  her  closet.  Curb  did  not  explain  how  the  CRCT  materials  ended 
up  on  the  table  as  depicted  in  the  photographs. 

Curb  admits  she  filled  in  answers  to  questions  that  students  left  blank  on  the  CRCT.  She 
further  admitted  that  when  students  selected  more  than  one  answer  on  the  CRCT,  she  would 
erase  the  wrong  answer.  When  confronted  with  the  testimony  of  witnesses  who  saw  her  erase 
and  change  answers  and  give  students  answers  for  the  CRCT,  Curb  claimed  she  was  "being  set 
up." 

6.  Dana  Evans  (Principal) 

Principal  Evans  stated  that  she  never  received  a  report  of  a  testing  violation  or  heard  any 
concerns  from  teachers  regarding  cheating.  She  further  stated  that  certain  fifth  grade  teachers 
reported  problems  with  their  incoming  students.  Evans  instructed  the  fifth  grade  teachers  to 
provide  her  with  the  names  of  the  students  and  the  reasons  they  were  not  performing,  but  she 
believed  the  teachers'  responses  were  vague.  She  thought  the  allegations  the  fifth  grade  teachers 
made  were  a  defense  mechanism  to  compensate  for  their  scores  not  being  as  high  as  the  fourth 


198 


grade  teachers'  scores.  Principal  Evans  believes  "people  cheat  because  they  have  a  flaw  in  their 
moral  character." 

Principal  Evans  testified  that  Dobbs  was  a  problem  school  full  of  problem  employees. 
She  specifically  identified  Naomi  Williams.  When  confronted  with  Williams'  statements  to 
investigators,  Principal  Evans  stated  that  Ms.  Williams  had  a  vendetta  against  her  because 
Principal  Evans  terminated  her.  Principal  Evans  denied  ever  being  in  a  conference  room  with 
CRCT  materials.  She  also  denied  ever  seeing  Dessa  Curb's  CRCT  materials  spread  out  on  a 
table.  Principal  Evans  stated  that  she  has  tried  to  instill  discipline  in  the  staff  and  faculty  at 
Dobbs,  with  varying  degrees  of  success.  She  believes  that  many  teachers  have  or  would  attempt 
to  retaliate  against  her  discipline  by  fabricating  stories  about  cheating.  She  denied  ever  cheating 
or  condoning  cheating. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Arlette  Crump,  Dessa  Curb,  Derrick  Broadwater,  Angela  Williamson, 
and  Shayla  Smith  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

We  further  conclude  that  Principal  Evans  knew,  or  should  have  known,  that  cheating  on 
the  CRCT  occurred  at  Dobbs  in  2009,  and  in  other  years.  Multiple  teachers  testified  that  they 
brought  concerns  to  Principal  Evans  regarding  cheating,  but  Evans  dismissed  their  concerns  and 
took  no  action.  Former  employees  testified  that  they  informed  Principal  Evans  of  cheating  and 
were  terminated.  Principal  Evans  testified  that  there  were  many  bad  teachers  and 
paraprofessionals  at  Dobbs,  and  that  she  believed  the  ones  she  terminated  fabricated  stories  in  an 
attempt  at  retaliation.  Principal  Evans  was  one  of  the  few  APS  employees  to  acknowledge  that, 
as  a  leader,  she  was  responsible  for  everything  that  happened  in  her  school.  She  denies  cheating, 
condoning  cheating,  or  having  any  knowledge  of  cheating.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Evans 
did  not  cheat  or  direct  anyone  to  cheat,  but  conclude  that  she  should  have  known  cheating 
happened  at  Dobbs. 


199 


200 


February  18, 2010 


Georgia  Professional  Standards  Commision 
Attn:  Mr.  John  Grant 
Two  Peachtree,  suite  6000 
Atlanta,  GA  30303-3141 


Dear  Mr.  John  Grant: 

Thank  you,  again,  for  allowing  me  the  time  to  voice  my  concerns  and  give  testimony  of 
cheating/unlawful  behavior  that  I  have  witnessed  at  Dobbs  Elementary  School,  I  began  my  teaching 
career  at  Dobbs  Elementary  tn  the  beginning  of  the  2003-04  school  year  as  a  4th  grade  teacher.  From 
then  until  the  end  of  the  2007-08  school  year,  I  was  employed  with  Atlanta  Public  Schools  as  a  teacher 
of  4th  and  5th  grades  at  Dobbs  Elementary  School. 

During  my  first  year  at  Dobbs  Elementary,  and  each  year  following,  I  was  pressured  to  cheat  on  the 
CRCT.  I  was  told  that  we  needed  to  "make  the  floor"  by  any  means  necessary,  and  that  if  our  school  did 
not  make  AYP  and  meet  targets,  we(teachers)  could  be  put  on  PDPs  and  possibly  lose  our  jobs.  Teachers 
were  threatened  and  intimidated  as  a  whole.  From  the  beginning  of  the  2007-08  year,  under  the  new 
leadership  of  Dana  Evans,  both  intimidation  of  some  teachers  and  favoritism  of  other's  (based  on  test 
scores)began.  Teachers  who  had  high  scoring  classes  were  given  such  special  privileges  as  bonus  supply 
money  and  the  opportunities  to  attend  conferences  that  I  was  not  allowed  to  attend.  In  one  instance, 
my  supply  request  list  was  "lost"  even  though  it  was  submitted  in  a  pack  with  the  lists  of  other 
coworkers  who  alt  received  their  complete  orders  without  issue.  I  had  the  lowest  scoring  dass  on  grade 
level. 

From  my  first  year,  i  saw  and  heard  mention  of  several  different  cheating  strategies.  They  are: 

*  Once  the  seal  is  broken  the  first  day  of  testing,  you  cart  look  ahead  to  the  next  day's  test, 
remember  or  write  down  as  many  questions  as  possible,  and  teach  them  to  the  students  that 
afternoon  or  the  morning  before  the  test. 

*  The  principal/administrator  can  ensure  that  certain  teachers  have  no  proctor  while  others  do. 
This  makes  It  easier  for  certain  teachers  to  cheat. 

*  Proctors  with  no  orientation/training  who  were  parent  volunteers,  rather  than  APS  employees, 
were  placed  in  certain  classrooms,  as  well. 

*  A  test  booklet  can  be  taken  home.  The  person  can  either  study  it,  photocopy  the  questions,  or 
simply  copy  the  questions  by  hand.  (The  adminstrator  in  charge  of  the  booklet  count  will 
purposely  overlook  the  inaccurate  booklet  count  at  the  end  of  testing  time  that  day.) 

*  Some  teachers  may  give  students  certain  signals,  each  for  a  different  letter  -  A,B,C,  or  D. 

*  A  teacher  walking  past  a  student  may  softly  kick  the  desk  Or  chair  of  a  student,  alerting  that 
student  that  he/she  has  marked  the  wrong  answer. 

*  A  teacher  /administrator  reading  the  test  aloud  to  a  student  may  emphasize  the  correct  answer 
with  the  volume  of  his/her  voice. 


EXHIBIT 


201 


2 


*  A  teacher  may  point  to  a  question/answer  and  tell  the  student  to  "look  it  over"  in  order  to  alert 
that  student  that  he/she  has  marked  the  wrong  answer. 

*  A  teacher/adminstrator  can  ask  that  student  mark  their  initial  answers  on  a  sheet  of  scrap 
paper.  Once  that  teacher/administrator  approves  the  answers,  the  student  can  then  copy  them 
to  the  real  answer  sheet. 

e    Administrators  can  return  the  booklets  and  answer  sheets  to  the  teachers  when  the  state 
proctors  have  left  the  building. 

*  Administrators  can  access  the  booklets  and  answer  sheets  and  change  the  answers,  since  they 
have  full  access  to  ail  test  materials  during  the  week  of  testing. 

«    Teachers/administrators  can  change  answers  AS  students  are  taking  the  test,  or  simply  verbally 

tell  the  student  to  change  it. 
e    Administrators  can  change  attendance  figures  in  order  to  meet  the  attendance  targets. 

*  Administrators  can  tell  low-scoring  students  to  stay  home  certain  days  of  the  test,  orthe  entire 
week. 

9    Administrators  can  instruct  teachers  to  mark  their  entire  dass  present,  whether  it  is  true  or  not, 
tn  order  to  meet  attentance  targets. 

During  my  tenure  at  Dobbs  Elementary,  I  was  told  at  times  to  mark  all  students  present)  whether  they 
were  actually  present  or  not.  When  I  marked  a  student  absent  anyway,  the  "A"  (for  absent)  was  crossed 
off  when  my  attendance  sheet  was  returned.  And,  I  saw  many  attendance  figures  changed  in  the  data 
base.  Tliis  happened  during  my  last  two  years  at  Dobbs  Elementary,  from  2006-2008. 

During  my  earlier  years  at  Dobbs  Elementary,  under  the  administration  of  Carolyn  Brown,  an 
administrator  brought  my  students'  test  booklets  and  answer  sheets  back  to  me  after  the  state  proctors 
had  left  the  building.  When  I  asked  why  I  was  getting  them  back,  I  was  told  that  I  was  supposed  to  check 
over  the  answer  sheets  for  any  stray  marks  and  erase  any  that  f  saw.  When  I  asked  why  i  needed  the 
test  booklets  as  well,  I  was  told  that  they  wanted  to  keep  everything  together.  I  said  I  did  not  need 
them,  and  was  told  to  "just  look  over  them  anyway",  I  never  touched  them. 

During  my  last  year  at  Dobbs  Elementary,  under  the  administration  of  Dana  Evans,  the  pressure  to  cheat 
escalated  and )  witnessed  more  unlawful  testing  practices.  Teachers  who  spoke  up  against  her  policies 
and  opinions  were  punished.  We  were  constantly  threatened  with  PDPs.  Some  of  my  coworkers  had  no 
proctor,  f  was  there  when  Evans  was  informed  of  this.  She  appeared  surprised,  but  made  no  effort  to 
assign  them  one.  The  next  day,  there  was  still  no  proctor.  (It  is  my  understanding  that  a  proctor  is  not 
needed  if  the  class  count  is  below  30  students.)  My  coworker  and  I  were  given  one  proctor  to  share 
between  our  classes.  About  every  15  minutes,  this  proctor  would  come  back  and  forth  between  our 
classes,  talking  to  the  students  as  they  tested.  She  obviously  had  not  been  trained  or  had  an  orientation. 
I  had  never  seen  her  working  in  the  building  before.  And,  I  do  not  recall  her  name.  There  was  some 
confusion  about  the  break  times.  And,  some  teachers  would  take  breaks  during  the  test  while  others 
were  still  testing.  Many  teachers  continued  testing  long  after  the  signal  was  given  for  the  test  to  end. 
Before  testing,  when  I  spoke  with  Mrs.  Evans  about  the  pressure  to  match  scores  that  had  been 
obtained  by  cheating,  I  was  not  taken  seriously.  To  my  knowledge,  nothing  was  done  by  her  to 
investigate  or  stop  any  possible  cheating. 


Finally,  here  is  a  list  of  former  APS  employees  were  worked  at  Dobbs  Elementary.  They  are  all  willing  to 
give  their  personal  testimony  of  the  cheating  that  has  been  allowed  there  for  so  many  years, 


EXHIBIT 


202 


TOOMER  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


65  Rogers  Street  Principal:  Dr.  Tonya  Saunders  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30317  Testing  Coordinator:  Hezekiah  Wardlow 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Toomer  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 
Fifteen  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to 
cheating.  Cheating  at  Toomer  is  evidenced  by  confessions  and  witness  testimony.  Principal 
Tonya  Saunders  and  Testing  Coordinator  Hezekiah  Wardlow  instructed  teachers  to  cheat  on  the 
CRCT  and  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Principal  Tonya  Saunders  failed  to  properly  monitor 
the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

21.4 

0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

9 

0 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

4(3) 

0 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.6 

0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

14.6 

0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.8 

0 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Principal  Saunders  instructed  teachers  to  prompt  students  to  change  their  answers  during 
the  2009  CRCT,  and  to  look  ahead  in  the  CRCT  booklet  and  make  sure  the  students  were 
prepared  for  the  material  to  be  tested. 

Hezekiah  Wardlow  instructed  Latoya  Stiffend  to  arrange  her  students  in  a  way  that  would 
ensure  that  the  lower  achieving  students  received  easier  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  prompts. 

Teachers  used  voice  inflection  to  prompt  their  students  during  the  administration  of  the 
2009  CRCT. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

I.        Lysandra  Hardaway  (Teacher) 

Lysandra  Hardaway  admitted  to  prompting  students  by  inflecting  her  voice  to  emphasize 
the  correct  answer  during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT. 


204 


Hardaway  testified  that  there  were  no  proctors  in  the  classrooms  at  Toomer,  only 
monitors  who  would  occasionally  walk  into  individual  classrooms. 

2.  Sheila  Brown  (Teacher) 

Sheila  Brown  confessed  to  prompting  students  by  inflecting  her  voice  to  emphasize  the 
correct  answer  during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  She  also  admitted  to  prompting 
students  to  change  incorrect  answers  during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT. 

3.  Megan  Dosmann  (Teacher) 

During  the  administration  of  the  2006  CRCT,  Principal  Saunders  instructed  Megan 
Dosmann  to  look  ahead  at  the  next  section.  Saunders  said,  "Your  students  better  know 
everything  on  the  math  section."  Dorsmann  testified  that  she  felt  that  Principal  Saunders  was 
encouraging  her  to  cheat,  or  "feeling  her  out"  to  see  if  she  would  cheat. 

Dosmann  heard  that  the  CRCT  was  photocopied  at  Toomer,  but  she  never  saw  a 
photocopy  of  any  CRCT. 

Megan  Dosmann  saw  Denita  Carr  prompting  students  during  the  administration  of  the 
CRCT.  She  was  unsure  of  the  year,  but  knew  it  to  be  between  2005  and  2009. 

4.  Latoya  Royal  Stiffend  (Teacher) 

Testing  Coordinator  Wardlow  approached  Latoya  Stiffend  during  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing 
Test  and  suggested  she  seat  students  in  an  order  such  that  students  would  obtain  writing  topics 
that  would  improperly  maximize  students'  scores.  Stiffend  denied  that  she  seated  her  students  in 
the  order  Testing  Coordinator  Wardlow  suggested. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Tonya  Saunders  (Principal) 

Principal  Saunders  testified  that  she  was  in  the  hospital  undergoing  emergency  surgery 
during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  Testing  Coordinator  Wardlow  was  in  charge  of  the 
school  during  the  2009  CRCT.  She  testified  that  the  tests  were  kept  in  Wardlow' s  office,  and 
that  she  did  not  have  a  key  to  his  office. 

Principal  Saunders  admitted  to  instructing  her  teachers  to  look  ahead  in  the  CRCT 
booklet  and  make  sure  that  they  taught  the  covered  material  before  the  next  testing  session.  She 
admitted  instructing  her  teachers  to  tell  individual  students  to  check  their  answers  when  the 
teacher  noticed  they  had  answered  a  particular  question  incorrectly.  She  later  recanted  and 
denied  making  both  admissions. 

Principal  Saunders  placed  teachers  on  PDPs  for  low  test  scores,  and  given  this  pressure 
she  was  not  surprised  that  they  cheated.  She  was  surprised  that  some  students  passed  the  CRCT 
because  their  classroom  performance  did  not  match  their  CRCT  scores.  She  stated  that  as  long 
as  teachers  met  targets  and  students  passed,  she  did  not  question  how  CRCT  scores  occurred. 


205 


2.        Hezekiah  Wardlow  (Testing  Coordinator) 


Testing  Coordinator  Hezekiah  Wardlow  denied  ever  instructing  Latoya  Stiffend  to  seat 
her  students  in  a  particular  order  for  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Principal  Saunders  had  a  key 
to  his  office.  A  representative  from  SRT-3  was  present  with  him  during  the  CRCT  testing 
window. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Saunders  instructed  her  teachers  to  cheat  by  prompting 
students  to  change  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT.  We  also  conclude  that  Principal  Saunders 
instructed  her  teachers  to  cheat  by  looking  ahead  in  the  2009  CRCT  test  booklet  to  improperly 
discover  what  material  would  be  tested  in  those  sections.  Testing  Coordinator  Wardlow 
instructed  Latoya  Stiffend  to  seat  her  students  in  a  way  that  would  alter  the  results  of  the  2009 
Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test.  Sheila  Brown  and  Lysandra  Hardaway  cheated  by  prompting  their 
students  to  change  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

It  is  also  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Tonya  Saunders  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and 
adequately  supervise  the  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


206 


BENTEEN  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


200  Cassanova  Street  Principal:  Dr.  Diana  Quisenberry  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Theresia  Copeland 

I.  INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Benteen  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-six  people  at  this 
school  were  interviewed,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Benteen  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms  and  witness  testimony.  The  principal,  testing  coordinator,  and 
math  coach  improperly  viewed  the  CRCT  early  and  "tutored"  failing  students  by  giving  them  the 
test  questions  and  answers.  The  testing  coordinator  changed  answers  and  Principal  Diana 
Quisenberry  knew  that  answers  were  changed.  Principal  Diana  Quisenberry  falsified  attendance 
records  and  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.  STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

43.1 

0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WFR  Erasures 

22 

0 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

9(8) 

0 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

12.5 

0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

23.8 

0 

Tow  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

0 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

KIRK 

1  RD 

4.816114506 

KIRK 

1  LA 

7.106036004 

KIRK 

1  MA 

6.592589571 

EVANS 

3  RD 

17.90282248 

EVANS 

3  LA 

3.317897736 

EVANS 

3  MA 

13.89030544 

RHODES 

3  RD 

15.96607601 

RHODES 

3  MA 

11.23728008 

SMITH  C 

3RD 

20.56060439 

SMITH  C 

3  LA 

3.109935704 

SMITH  C 

3  MA 

20.84487831 

BENTEEN 

4  RD 

4.88559548 

BONDS 

4  RD 

16.26859827 

BONDS 

4  LA 

18.51439902 

BONDS 

4  MA 

14.68023992 

DIMES  SMITH 

4  RD 

5.336297633 

DIMES  SMITH 

4  LA 

3.55988236 

PAULK 

5  RD 

18.37528305 

PAULK 

5  LA 

8.336628077 

VACTER 

5  RD 

22.37132955 

VACTER 

5  LA 

23.81421432 

VACTER 

5  MA 

13.49026513 

207 


in.      SUMMARY  OF  EV  IDENCE 


A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Benteen  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  43. 1%  for  the  2009  CRCT. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT 
only  ten  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Benteen  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  43.1%  to  0%. 

Fourth,  of  the  22  flagged  classrooms  at  Benteen  Elementary  School,  1 7  (77%  of  the  total) 
had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  live,  and  13  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  The  deviations  from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a 
number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  this  school. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Benteen,  78.5%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
43.1%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school . 

Finally,  Principal  Quisenberry,  Testing  Coordinator  Theresia  Copeland,  and  Math  Coach 
Dr.  Marty  Cummings  improperly  viewed  the  CRCT  before  it  was  administered  and  provided 
struggling  students  with  the  questions  and  answers  so  that  they  could  pass  the  test.  After  the 
tests  were  administered  in  the  afternoon  and  the  SRT  monitor  left  the  building,  Copeland  took 
the  tests  out  of  the  vault  and  to  her  office  where  she  changed  answers  from  wrong  to  right. 

B.  Narrative 

Benteen  teachers  returned  CRCT  materials,  counted  them  in  front  of  either  Patricia 
Whitehead  or  Dr.  Marty  Cummings,  and  put  them  in  a  plastic  bin.  Whitehead  and  Cummings 
took  the  bins  to  the  vault,  where  they  were  "secured"  by  Copeland  and  the  SRT  monitor.  The 
next  morning.  Whitehead  and  Cummings  would  get  the  tests  from  the  vault  and  take  them  to  the 
classrooms.  Five  teachers  testified  that  they  put  the  tests  in  a  particular  order,  but  when  they  got 
them  back  the  next  morning,  the  tests  were  out  of  order  or  altered.  Cummings  explains  this  by 
saying  that  he  counted  the  tests  again  when  he  got  them  back  to  the  vault.  This  might  explain 
why  the  tests  would  be  out  of  order  except  that  Whitehead  and  Copeland  testified  that  they  were 
not  counted  again. 

Five  people  saw  Copeland  take  the  tests  from  the  vault  to  her  office  in  the  afternoon. 
One  person  saw  the  tests  in  her  office  spread  out  on  a  table.  Cummings,  who  helped  administer 
the  tests,  testified  there  was  no  reason  for  the  tests  to  come  out  of  the  vault  in  the  afternoon. 


208 


Nine  teachers  did  not  believe  the  high  CRCT  scores  reflected  the  actual  abilities  of  their 
students. 

Principal  Quisenberry,  Copeland,  and  Cummings  took  students  who  had  been  identified 
as  likely  to  fail  the  CRCT  out  of  class  for  "tutorial  sessions."  Students  who  were  tutored  later 
told  their  teachers  that  they  had  seen  all  of  the  CRCT  questions  in  these  sessions. 

C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Patricia  Whitehead  (Coach) 

Patricia  Whitehead  assisted  Testing  Coordinator  Theresia  Copeland  with  the 
administration  of  the  CRCT  in  2009.  The  classroom  teachers  collected  the  tests,  counted  them 
out  in  front  of  Whitehead  (or  Dr.  Marty  Cummings),  and  placed  the  tests  in  a  clear  plastic  box. 
Whitehead  watched  the  teachers  count  the  tests  and  then  wheeled  the  boxes  on  a  cart  to  the 
"vault"  where  they  were  stored  until  the  next  morning.  In  the  morning.  Whitehead  returned  the 
boxes  to  the  teachers  who  counted  them  again  and  administered  the  test.  Whitehead  never  took 
the  tests  out  of  the  boxes  or  counted  them.  Only  the  teachers  counted  the  tests.  According  to 
Whitehead,  there  was  no  need  to  touch  the  tests  between  pickup  and  delivery. 

At  approximately  3:30  p.m.  during  the  week  of  the  CRCT,  Whitehead  was  in  the 
cafeteria  with  Naja  Brittain,  Lucrelia  Craig,  and  Jamesa  Rhodes.  They  saw  Copeland  pushing 
the  tests  on  a  cart  down  the  hallway  from  the  vault  to  her  office.  On  another  occasion  that  week. 
Whitehead  saw  Copeland  lock  the  tests  in  the  vault  in  the  presence  of  Cecil  Jackson,  the  APS 
monitor.  Later  that  day,  again  around  3:30  p.m.,  Whitehead  saw  Copeland  taking  the  tests 
toward  her  office. 

On  another  occasion.  Whitehead  went  to  Copeland' s  office  and  saw  the  test  booklets  and 
answer  sheets  out  on  a  table. 

Some  teachers  put  their  students'  tests  in  a  particular  order  at  the  end  of  testing  each  day. 
Two  teachers.  Sheila  Evans  and  Lori  Revere-Paulk,  complained  to  Whitehead  that  their  tests 
were  out  of  order  when  they  got  them  back  in  the  morning.  Whitehead  could  not  explain  why 
the  tests  would  have  been  in  a  different  order. 

Whitehead  heard  students  who  were  tutored  by  Dr.  Marty  Cummings  say  that  they  had 
seen  the  test  questions  prior  to  the  CRCT. 

2.  Naja  Brittain  (Monitor) 

Naja  Brittain  saw  Copeland  pushing  the  tests  on  a  cart  toward  her  office  in  the  afternoon 
during  the  testing  week. 

3.  Lucrelia  Craig  (Cafeteria) 

Lucrelia  Craig  also  saw  Copeland  pushing  the  tests  on  a  cart  toward  her  office  in  the 
afternoon  during  the  testing  week. 


209 


4.        Jam  esq  Rhodes  (Teacher) 


A  student  told  Jamesa  Rhodes  that  she  had  already  seen  the  questions  on  the  CRCT.  All 
of  her  students  passed  the  CRCT,  including  one  student  who  could  not  read  the  word  "cat." 
According  to  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis,  that  student  had  14  WTR  erasures  out  of  17  total 
erasures  on  the  reading  section  of  her  2009  CRCT. 

At  6:30  a.m.,  Rhodes  saw  Copeland  come  out  of  the  main  office  with  the  tests  on  a  cart. 

Principal  Quisenberry  made  Rhodes  change  a  student's  report  card  grade  from  a  D  to  a  C. 

In  the  years  before  Principal  Quisenberry  became  principal  of  Benteen,  many  students 
failed  the  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT.  The  reading  scores  went  up  dramatically  in  2007-2008. 
In  that  year,  only  one  student  failed. 

5.  Javacia  Jones  (Paraprofessional) 

In  2009,  Javacia  Jones  proctored  Lori  Revere-Paulk' s  fifth  grade  class.  Revere-Paulk 
always  put  the  tests  in  alphabetical  order  at  the  end  of  the  testing  day  She  also  always  put  the 
instructional  booklet  on  top  of  the  stack  of  tests.  On  two  occasions  the  tests  came  back  out  of 
order  and  the  instructional  booklet  was  missing.  Revere-Paulk  complained  to  Copeland  who  said 
not  to  worry  about  it. 

Jones  saw  Theresia  Copeland  with  the  tests  in  her  office  in  the  morning. 

Principal  Quisenberry  kept  a  list  of  who  had  been  interviewed  by  the  GBI,  and  for  how 

long. 

6.  Nicole  Taylor  (Teacher) 

Nicole  Taylor  administered  the  CRCT  to  her  first  class  in  2009.  On  the  second  testing 
day  her  students'  test  booklets  had  their  names  written  on  the  inside.  The  names  had  not  been 
there  the  day  before. 

In  2009,  at  approximately  3:00  p.m.,  she  saw  Copeland  take  the  tests  from  the  vault  to  her 
office.  Taylor  knew  something  was  going  on  because  she  thought  there  was  a  disconnect 
between  CRCT  scores  and  actual  abilities. 

Some  Benteen  students  told  Leslie  Bonds  that  they  had  seen  the  CRCT  questions  before. 
Bonds  covered  her  ears. 

7.  Shawn  I  'actor  (Teacher) 

Shawn  Vactor  taught  fifth  grade  in  2009.  His  students  told  him  that  the  actual  test 
questions  were  just  like  the  questions  in  their  tutoring  sessions.  Vactor  asked  them,  "Did  y'all 
have  the  answers,"  and  a  student  replied,  "I  told  you  that." 


210 


Vactor  put  the  tests  each  day  in  a  certain  order.  When  they  were  returned  to  him  the  next 
day  they  were  out  of  order.  Some  pages  of  the  test  booklets  were  folded  back  and  opened. 

8.  Terrell  Emerson  (Teacher) 

Terrell  Emerson  started  at  Benteen  in  the  fall  of  2009.  He  heard  teachers  talk  about  how 
the  administrators.  Principal  Qui senberry,  Theresia  Copeland,  Dr.  Marty  Cummings,  and 
Towanda  Harris,  altered  tests. 

Emerson  claimed  Principal  Qui  senberry  has  been  falsifying  attendance  records.  One  of 
his  students  was  absent  over  one  hundred  days,  but  when  Emerson  got  the  attendance  report  back 
from  the  main  office  it  showed  only  three  or  four  absences.  Emerson  complained  about  the 
discrepancy  to  Principal  Qui  senberry  who  said  there  must  have  been  a  "glitch"  in  the  system. 
After  he  reported  the  attendance  issues  to  Principal  Qui  senberry,  she  started  sending  observers  to 
watch  him  teach.  Shortly  thereafter  he  was  placed  on  a  PDP.  Emerson  said  that  Principal 
Quisenberry  took  similar  retaliatory  actions  against  Ryan  Abbott  when  Abbott  reported  that 
Sheila  Evans  gave  her  students  the  answers  to  the  CRCT. 

9.  Ryan  Abbott  (Teacher) 

Twelve  students  in  Ryan  Abbott's  fourth  grade  class  told  him  that  their  former  teacher, 
third  grade  teacher  Sheila  Evans,  gave  them  the  answers  to  the  CRCT.  He  called  the  APS 
hotline  to  report  the  cheating. 

10.  Joann  Banks  (Front  Office) 

A  student  told  Joann  Banks  that  her  teacher,  Toni  Travis,  gave  her  answers  to  the  CRCT. 

11.  Bethanie  Barnes  (Teacher) 

Bethanie  Barnes  turned  in  report  cards  with  D  and  F  grades  Principal  Quisenberry  and 
Theresia  Copeland  told  her  that  grades  below  a  C  were  against  school  policy.  They  sent  the 
report  cards  back  to  Barnes  and  told  her  to  change  the  students"  grades. 

12.  Leslie  Bonds  (Teacher) 

Students  told  Leslie  Bonds  they  had  seen  the  CRCT  in  their  tutorial  sessions. 

13.  Alexis  Dimes-Smith  (Teacher) 

Alexis  Dimes-Smith  put  the  tests  in  a  certain  order  when  she  turned  them  in  at  the  end  of 
each  day.  Two  out  of  five  days  of  testing,  the  tests  were  returned  to  her  in  a  different  order. 

14.  Veronica  Kirk  (Teacher) 

Veronica  Kirk  administered  the  test  to  her  first  grade  class  in  2009.  She  put  the  tests  in  a 
certain  order  when  she  turned  them  in  and  every  day  they  were  out  of  order  when  she  got  them 
back. 


211 


Some  results  surprised  her.  For  example,  one  of  her  students  left  an  entire  section  blank 
yet  passed  the  CRCT. 

Copeland  told  Kirk  during  the  week  of  the  tests  that  her  students  did  well.  She  would 
have  only  known  if  she  had  been  looking  at  the  tests. 

15.       The  following  people  testified  that  there  were  one  or  more  students  in  their 
class  whose  passing  scores  surprised  them 

Patricia  Whitehead  (literacy  coach)  (she  taught  reading  to  students  who  could  not  read  at 
their  grade  level);  Sheila  Evans  (third  grade  teacher  who  had  a  number  of  students  who  had 
difficulty  reading  and  passed  the  CRCT);  Kimberlyn  Gaston  (paraprofessional  who  knows  of 
fifth  graders  who  cannot  read  yet  met  expectations  on  the  CRCT);  Towanda  Harris  (School 
Improvement  Specialist  who  testified  that  students  cannot  pass  their  grade  level  assessment  tests 
but  passed  the  CRCT);  Clinton  Smith  (third  grade  teacher  who  identified  one  student  who 
surprised  him  that  she  passed  the  CRCT;  this  student  had  10  WTR  erasures  out  of  10  total 
erasures  on  the  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT);  Anne  Elizabeth  Martin  (first  grade  teacher  who 
identified  one  student  she  was  surprised  to  learn  passed  the  CRCT;  this  student  had  17  WTR 
erasures  out  of  20  total  erasures  on  the  language  arts  section  and  26  WTR  erasures  out  of  32  total 
erasures  on  the  reading  section);  and  Javacia  Jones  (paraprofessional  who  knows  of  many 
children  who  cannot  read  and  passed  the  CRCT). 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

/.        Dr.  Diana  Quisenberry  (Principal) 

Principal  Quisenberry  denied  cheating  and  claims  she  is  not  aware  of  anyone  changing 
test  answers.  She  denied  changing  attendance  records  or  causing  anyone  else  to  alter  them.  She 
docs  not  have  a  school  policy  that  children  cannot  make  less  than  a  C,  and  has  never  suggested 
that  grades  change  from  a  D  or  F  to  a  C. 

Principal  Quisenberry  saw  teachers  bring  the  tests  to  Copeland' s  office  to  count  and  sort. 
On  one  occasion  she  knocked  on  Copeland' s  door  and  Copeland  said  she  could  not  come  in 
because  the  tests  were  in  there.  Principal  Quisenberry  saw  the  tests  stacked  on  a  table  through  a 
window.  Quisenberry  said  that  this  observation  was  prior  to  the  administration  of  the  test  and 
that  Copeland  needed  to  sort  the  tests  into  boxes  for  the  teachers. 

Principal  Qui senbeny  thinks  that  this  investigation  is  politically  motivated  and  pointed 
out  that  the  schools  under  investigation  are  predominantly  A  fri  can- Am eri can  schools. 

2.        Theresia  Copeland  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Theresia  Copeland  denied  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

Copeland  worked  with  Principal  Qui senberry  in  two  other  schools  and  they  are  close 

friends. 

According  to  Copeland,  the  teachers  counted  the  tests,  not  the  test  administrators. 


212 


3. 


Dr.  Marty  Cummings  (Math  Coach) 


Dr.  Cummings  assisted  in  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  He  picked  up  the  tests, 
counted  them  in  front  of  teachers,  and  then  re-counted  them  before  putting  them  in  the  vault. 

He  testified  there  would  be  no  reason  to  take  the  tests  out  of  the  vault  in  the  afternoon 
after  they  had  been  secured. 

4.        Sheila  Evans  (Teacher) 

Sheila  Evans  denied  giving  her  students  any  test  answers  in  2008.  She  heard  that  people 
were  erasing  answers  at  Benteen  for  years  prior  to  2009.  She  said  that  students  identified  as  not 
likely  to  meet  expectations  were  pulled  out  of  class  for  tutorials  in  the  weeks  prior  to  the  CRCT. 
They  were  tutored  by  Principal  Quisenberry,  Theresia  Copeland,  or  Dr.  Cummings. 

Principal  Quisenberry  tells  teachers  the  lowest  grade  they  may  give  students  is  a  C. 
Evans  no  longer  works  for  APS.  We  have  learned  that  she  has  sued  APS. 

E        Other  Evidence 

A  teacher  at  Benteen  reported  cheating  in  May  of  2009.  The  allegations  were  that 
Copeland  and  Dr.  Cummings  pulled  students  from  the  classroom  in  the  weeks  before  the  CRCT 
and  gave  them  the  questions  and  answers  directly  from  the  CRCT  book.  The  complaint  also 
alleged  that  there  were  children  who  scored  very  high  on  the  test  even  when  they  slept  through 
the  CRCT  or  did  not  know  the  answers  to  most  of  the  questions.  APS  hired  Penn  Payne  to 
investigate.  Teachers  at  Benteen  told  Payne  much  of  the  same  information  they  gave  us.  Payne 
concluded  that  because  she  obtained  a  large  amount  of  "inconsistent,  contradictory,  and 
uncorroborated  information."  she  was  reluctant  to  reach  conclusions  about  whether  there  was 
cheating.  Instead,  she  recommended  that  the  testing  and  achievement  experts  hired  by  APS 
examine  Benteen  in  their  analysis. 

On  September  17,  20 1 0,  after  we  began  our  investigation,  Payne  amended  her  report  on 
Benteen.  She  concluded  that  Sheila  Evans  cheated  and  that  it  was  possible  Copeland,  Cummings 
and  Principal  Quisenberry  cheated. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Testing  Coordinator  Theresia  Copeland  changed  answers  on  the  2009 
CRCT.  After  the  tests  were  administered  in  the  afternoon,  and  the  SRT  monitor  left  the  building, 
Copeland  would  take  the  tests  out  of  the  vault  and  to  her  office  where  she  changed  answers  from 
wrong  to  right.  This  explains  the  tests  being  out  of  order  each  day,  and  why  the  students  scored 
better  on  the  CRCT  than  was  reflected  by  their  abilities  in  the  classroom.  We  conclude  that 
Principal  Quisenberry  knew  Copeland  was  changing  answers. 

We  also  conclude  that  Principal  Diana  Quisenberry,  Theresia  Copeland,  and  Dr.  Marty 
Cummings  viewed  the  CRCT  early  and  "tutored"  students  by  reviewing  the  actual  test. 


213 


Principal  Diana  Quisenberry  failed  in  her  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  that  Dr.  Quisenberry  failed  to  properly 
monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This 
resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the 
results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 

Finally,  we  find  that  Principal  Quisenberry  ordered  her  teachers  to  improperly  give  all 
students  a  C  or  above  and  falsified  attendance  records. 


214 


BEECHER  HILLS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


2257  Bollingbrook  Drive  Principal:  Dr.  Robin  Hall  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30311  Testing  Coordinator:  Crystal  Jones 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Beecher  Hills  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 
Forty-two  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Three  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at  Beecher  Hills  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged 
classrooms,  confessions,  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Robin  Hall  failed  to  properly  monitor 
the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

42.6 

2.4 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

23 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

10(7) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.1 

3.4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

19.2 

3.4 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.0 

3.4 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

MEADOWS 

1  RD 

7.425756593 

MEADOWS 

1  LA 

9.185159218 

MEADOWS 

1  MA 

5.360238788 

DAVIS 

2  MA 

3.325295443 

FOWLER 

2  RD 

6.925389177 

FOWLER 

2  LA 

6.939522682 

FOWLER 

2  MA 

7.654532653 

LONG 

2  RD 

14.44128005 

LONG 

2  LA 

12.54966787 

LONG 

2  MA 

12.62085791 

LITTLE 

3RD 

7.586797809 

LITTLE 

3  LA 

4.508882848 

LITTLE 

3  MA 

5.789043049 

ROSS 

3  RD 

3.300656702 

ROSS 

3  LA 

3.032519074 

ROSS 

3  MA 

8.870670614 

UPSHAW 

3RD 

11.95338131 

UPSHAW 

3  LA 

8.873571835 

UPSHAW 

3  MA 

3.700818309 

AKINS 

4  MA 

3.684144795 

HUMPHRIES 

4  MA 

4.874674245 

VARNADO 

5  RD 

19.19833328 

VARNADO 

5  LA 

14.61152034 

215 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  a  conclusion  that  Beecher  Hills  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  42.6%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  14  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms 
dropped  from  42.6%  to  2.1%. 

Third,  of  the  23  flagged  classrooms  at  Beecher  Hills,  15  (70%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  further  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Beecher  Hills  Elementary  School. 

Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  51%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  27.8%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Fifth,  testing  procedures  were  not  clearly  understood  by  the  teachers.  Teachers  were 
allowed  to  read  passages  aloud  to  first  and  second  grade  students  during  the  reading  portion  of 
the  2009  CRCT.  Latenza  Lawrence  testified  that  she  was  instructed  by  Reading  Coach  Joye 
Bradley  to  read  passages  aloud  to  her  second  grade  students.  The  practice  ended  after  the 
erasure  analysis  was  published. 

Sixth,  testing  security  was  poor  at  Beecher  Hills.  The  CRCT  materials  were  stored  in  the 
testing  coordinator's  office  and  people  came  in  and  out  throughout  the  day  during  testing. 
Catherine  Mack  witnessed  Brandon  McClendon,  a  paraprofessional,  in  the  science  resource 
room  with  a  stack  of  CRCT  answer  sheets  and  a  pencil  "taking  care  of  stray  marks." 

Finally,  three  teachers,  Florence  Bankston,  Michelle  Ross,  and  Dana  Little,  admitted  to 
cheating  during  the  2009  CRCT.  Michelle  Ross  purposefully  seated  her  students  such  that  the 
higher  achieving  students  sat  next  to  lower  achieving  students  during  the  2009  CRCT  so  that  the 
lower  achieving  students  could  copy  the  work  of  the  higher  achieving  students.  She  also  allowed 
her  students  to  use  extra  time  to  copy  one  another's  answers. 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Latenza  Lawrence  (Teacher) 

Latenza  Lawrence  testified  that  in  2006,  Joye  Bradley  entered  her  room  during  the 
administration  of  the  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT  and  instructed  her  to  read  the  passages  of  the 
reading  section  aloud  to  her  students.  Lawrence  believed  that  was  improper. 


216 


2.        Catherine  Mack  (Teacher) 


Catherine  Mack  believes  cheating  occurred  at  Beecher  Hills  on  the  2009  CRCT,  and  in 
other  years.  She  heard  that  teachers  prompted  their  students  during  the  administration  of  the 
CRCT.  She  testified  that  classroom  doors  were  closed  during  the  2009  CRCT,  and  windows 
were  covered.  She  believes  that  most  teachers  looked  ahead  to  the  next  day's  section  of  the 
CRCT  test  booklet.  Teachers  always  met  after  each  testing  day  to  discuss  what  was  going  to  be 
tested  in  the  next  session. 

She  saw  Paraprofessional  Brandon  McClendon  in  a  room  with  a  stack  of  CRCT  answer 
sheets  and  a  pencil  in  2009.  She  asked  him  what  he  was  doing,  and  he  responded  "taking  care  of 
stray  marks."  She  recalled  many  of  her  students  told  her  in  2009,  and  in  years  past  that  their 
former  teachers  gave  them  answers  during  the  CRCT. 

During  the  reading  portion  of  the  CRCT  at  Beecher  Hills,  the  first  grade  teachers  were 
permitted  to  read  the  passages  aloud  to  students.  Once  the  news  of  the  cheating  investigation 
broke,  however,  the  first  grade  teachers  were  no  longer  permitted  to  read  the  passages  aloud. 

B.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Florence  Bankston  (Proctor) 

Florence  Bankston  administered  the  2009  CRCT  to  PEC  children  in  the  media  center. 
She  admitted  to  prompting  students  to  change  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

2.  Michelle  Ross  (Teacher) 

Michelle  Ross  admitted  to  seating  higher  achieving  students  next  to  lower  achieving 
students  in  2009  and  other  years  so  that  the  students  could  cheat.  Ross  admits  that  she  sat  her 
students  in  that  particular  order  specifically  to  allow  her  students  to  cheat.  She  also  admits  that 
once  her  students  finished  the  CRCT  she  allowed  them  to  use  the  extra  time  to  copy  each  other's 
work. 

Ross  also  admits  to  prompting  her  students  to  change  incorrect  answers  during  the 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT,  and  in  other  years. 

3.  Dana  Little  (Teacher) 

Dana  Little  admits  to  prompting  her  students  to  re-read  particular  questions  when  she 
noticed  a  student  answered  a  particular  question  incorrectly.  She  further  testified  that  she  was 
currently  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores  in  2010. 

4.  Crystal  Jones  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Crystal  Jones  became  principal  of  Beecher  Hills  in  2009  after  Principal  Hall  was 
promoted  to  SRT-3  Executive  Director.  Crystal  Jones  was  the  Testing  Coordinator  during  the 
2009  CRCT  at  Beecher  Hills.  She  testified  that  she  knew  of  no  testing  irregularities  or  cheating. 


217 


Because  she  was  a  kindergarten  teacher  before  becoming  ILS  and  then  principal,  Crystal  Jones 
has  never  administered  the  CRCT. 

Crystal  Jones  testified  that  she  is  currently  on  a  PDP  for  low  CRCT  scores  on  the  2010 

CRCT. 

5.        Robin  Hall  (Principal) 

Robin  Hall  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  or  in  any  other  year. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Florence  Bankston,  Michelle  Ross,  and  Dana  Little  cheated  on  the 
CRCT  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 

Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  what  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar 
statistical  data,  we  believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  also  cheated.  We  lack  sufficient  evidence 
to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

It  is  also  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Robin  Hall  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and 
adequately  supervise  the  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


218 


FAIN  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


101  Hemphill  School  Road  NW       Principal:  Dr.  Marcus  Stallworth  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  30331-1621  Testing  Coordinator:  Pamela  Ringer 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Fain  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  previous  years. 
Twenty-nine  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating.  Teachers  and  administrators  erased  and  changed  answers  on  the  CRCT. 
Cheating  at  Fain  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness 
testimony.  Principal  Marcus  Stallworth  directed  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT  by  telling  them 
to  use  voice  inflection,  point  to  answers,  prompt  students  to  erase  and  change  answers,  re-word 
questions,  or  by  any  other  means  necessary.  Testing  Coordinator  Pamela  Ringer  also 
encouraged  teachers  to  cheat  using  these  methods. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

39.7 

18.8 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

31 

13 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

17(9) 

8(4) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

9.68 

4.1 

High  Flagged  Standard 

30.6 

5.5 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.02 

219 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

CAR  WISE 

1  RD 

3.705585441 

CAR  WISE 

1  LA 

6.088895616 

CAR  WISE 

1  MA 

4.610629223 

MCALPIN 

1  RD 

7.805389288 

MCALPIN 

1  LA 

9.562743096 

MCALPIN 

1  MA 

6.101663918 

HOLMES 

1  MA 

3.590645178 

LUCKIE 

1  LA 

4.856240058 

LUCKIE 

1  MA 

4.078116832 

DICKEY 

1  LA 

5.640940021 

SALES 

2  RD 

16.70813386 

SALES 

2  LA 

20.81894726 

SALES 

2  MA 

22.77842843 

SIMON 

2  MA 

4.231286213 

TIMMON 

2  LA 

3.186094992 

RICKS 

2  LA 

3.790038236 

WITMER 

3  RD 

27.26168023 

WITMER 

3  LA 

25.68539899 

WITMER 

3  MA 

30.65179877 

STEVENS 

3  RD 

9.732968355 

STEVENS 

3  LA 

16.28511265 

STEVENS 

3  MA 

14.61380638 

JOHNSON 

4  RD 

3.862024884 

JOHNSON 

4  MA 

4.577041882 

FRANCIS 

4  RD 

3.565992132 

HOWARD 

4  LA 

7.687164629 

BUTLER 

4  RD 

4.750123138 

BROWN 

5  RD 

4.819573861 

BROWN 

5  LA 

5.929359881 

FORDHAM 

5  RD 

7.120942884 

FORDHAM 

5  LA 

6.609480502 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Fain  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  39.7%  for  the  2009  CRCT. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  ten  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Fain  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  39.7%  to  18.8%. 

Fourth,  of  the  31  flagged  classrooms  at  Fain  Elementary  School,  18  (58%  of  the  total) 
had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  eight  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard 
deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 


220 


from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  Fain  Elementary  School. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Fain,  72.4%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  39.7% 
of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  multiple  teachers  confessed  to  cheating  and  testified  that  Principal  Stallworth 
directed  the  cheating  at  this  school. 

B.  Narrative 

Witnesses  at  Fain  testified  that  Principal  Stallworth  and  Testing  Coordinator  Ringer 
instructed  teachers  to  assist  students  on  the  CRCT  by  using  voice  inflection,  pointing  out 
answers,  using  non-verbal  communication  to  indicate  when  a  student  marked  a  wrong  answer, 
rewording  questions,  and  any  other  means  necessary.  Many  teachers  followed  Principal 
Stallworth  and  Ringer's  directives  and  cheated  on  the  test. 

In  addition,  Principal  Stallworth  and  Ringer  either  participated  in  erasing  and  changing 
student  answers  or  they  failed  to  enforce  proper  testing  protocols,  giving  teachers  the  opportunity 
to  erase  and  change  student  answers.  One  teacher  testified  that  she  saw  Stallworth  and  Ringer 
"looking  over  test  documents"  and  that  both  were  together  at  the  school  on  weekends  while  the 
tests  were  in  the  school. 

Teachers  cheated  in  many  instances  because  of  pressure  from  Stallworth  to  meet  targets. 
Principal  Stallworth  constantly  and  routinely  threatened  teachers  with  job  loss  or  negative 
evaluations  if  they  failed  to  improve  scores.  Principal  Stallworth  embarrassed  teachers  that  had 
low-performing  students. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.        Geneva  McCall  fSST) 

Principal  Stallworth  pressured  teachers  to  make  sure  students  passed  the  CRCT. 
Stallworth  used  PDPs  to  keep  teachers  from  transferring  out  of  Fain. 

2.        Tasha  Marks  (Teacher) 

APS  administrators  generally,  and  Principal  Stallworth  and  Pamela  Ringer  specifically, 
put  a  great  deal  of  pressure  on  teachers  to  meet  targets.  Stallworth  told  teachers  during  a  faculty 
meeting  that  if  their  students'  test  scores  were  low  on  the  CRCT,  he  would  change  the  teachers' 
evaluations  that  had  previously  been  completed. 

In  2009,  Marks  taught  reading  at  Fain.  No  more  than  30%  of  her  students  could  have 
passed  based  on  how  they  performed  prior  to  the  test.  She  felt  the  reading  scores  on  the  CRCT 
did  not  accurately  reflect  the  students'  actual  academic  performance.  Marks  made  it  clear  that 
she  would  not  cheat,  and  feels  Stallworth  retaliated  against  her  because  she  would  not  go  along 
with  the  cheating  culture. 


221 


3.       Melvina  Holmes  (Teacher) 


Principal  Stallworth  made  it  abundantly  clear  that  teachers  needed  to  do  what  they 
needed  to  do  to  make  sure  that  the  requisite  number  of  students  met  or  exceeded  standards  on  the 
CRCT.  He  openly  encouraged  teachers  to  use  voice  inflection.  He  demonstrated  how  to  prompt 
students  using  his  eyes  and  eyeglasses.  Melvina  Holmes  believes  that  Testing  Coordinator 
Pamela  Ringer  was  present  during  faculty  meetings  when  Principal  Stallworth  gave  these 
instructions. 

Cedric  Carwise  told  Ms.  Holmes  how  Principal  Stallworth  had  demonstrated  to  him  how 
to  use  voice  inflection  and  then  told  him,  "that's  how  you  do  it." 

It  was  important  to  the  administrators  that  Fain  "made  the  floor"  at  the  Convocation. 
During  teachers'  pre-evaluation  conferences,  Principal  Stallworth  informed  teachers  that  if  they 
did  not  meet  targets,  he  would  add  it  to  their  evaluation  and  place  them  on  a  PDP. 

4.  Darius  Dowdell  (Former  Fain  Teacher) 

Darius  Dowdell  taught  at  Fain  from  1997  to  2008.  Principal  Stallworth  pressured 
teachers  and  students  to  improve  scores  on  the  CRCT.  Principal  Stallworth  singled  out  teachers 
in  meetings  and  announced  their  CRCT  scores.  If  the  scores  were  low,  Principal  Stallworth 
ordered  the  teacher  to  crawl  under  the  table  in  front  of  all  the  other  faculty.  He  routinely  made 
statements  like:  "It's  my  school  and  I  will  run  it  how  I  want.  If  you  don't  like  it,  leave." 

Dowdell  had  no  direct  knowledge  of  cheating,  but  recalled  that  one  year  one  of  his 
students  refused  to  take  the  test.  That  student  still  achieved  a  passing  score  on  the  CRCT. 

5.  Marsha  Howard-Holliday  (Teacher) 

Marsha  Howard-Holliday  taught  at  Fain  from  2006  to  2010.  One  year  during  the  CRCT, 
she  saw  Pamela  Ringer  and  Principal  Stallworth  looking  at  the  tests  in  a  way  that  made  her 
suspicious.  Ringer  and  Principal  Stallworth  were  at  the  school  on  weekends  during  the  testing 
period  and  had  access  to  the  tests. 

Holliday  suspects  cheating  at  Fain.  She  became  suspicious  after  Fain  "made  the  floor" 
several  years  in  a  row.  Some  children  at  Fain  could  not  function  at  the  level  the  testing 
indicated,  yet  the  school  continued  to  make  targets.  In  one  particular  year,  one  of  Holliday' s 
students  did  not  finish  the  math  portion  of  the  CRCT,  but  still  achieved  a  passing  score. 

It  was  extremely  important  to  Principal  Stallworth  to  "make  the  floor."  Principal 
Stallworth  told  teachers  they  need  to  "do  whatever  it  takes." 

Holliday  denied  erasing  anything  on  her  students'  test,  giving  students  answers,  or  using 
voice  inflection  to  prompt  students  on  the  CRCT. 


222 


6.        Yolanda  McQueen  (Teacher) 


Principal  Stallworth  told  the  teachers  that  they  should  "use  whatever  means  necessary"  to 
ensure  students  passed  the  CRCT. 

7.        Douglas  Rozier  (Teacher) 

Douglas  Rozier  taught  at  Fain  for  fifteen  years.  When  Stallworth  was  principal,  Principal 
Stallworth  told  teachers  during  faculty  or  grade-level  meetings  to  use  voice  inflection  to  assist 
the  students  on  the  CRCT.  He  instructed  teachers  to  "make  it  work"  and  that  when  monitoring 
the  room,  teachers  should  direct  students  to  the  correct  answers.  Principal  Stallworth  also  said 
teachers  should  give  students  additional  time  on  the  test.  Principal  Stallworth  pressured  teachers 
to  follow  his  instructions  by  making  statements  such  as:  "This  is  my  school  and  if  you  don't 
abide  by  my  rules,  I  will  ship  you  out." 

Testing  Coordinator  Pamela  Ringer  followed  Principal  Stallworth' s  instructions  to  cheat. 
She  encouraged  voice  inflection  and  advised  teachers  to  put  the  test  questions  in  the  "simplest 
form"  while  administering  the  test. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Sabrina  Luckie  (Teacher) 

Sabrina  Luckie  admitted  to  prompting  students  on  the  CRCT.  Principal  Stallworth 
instructed  Sabrina  Luckie  and  other  teachers  that  while  administering  the  CRCT,  they  needed  to 
use  voice  inflection  to  assist  the  students.  Luckie  denied  using  voice  inflection,  but  admitted  that 
she  would  improperly  give  her  students  "the  look"  if  she  noticed  they  missed  certain  answers. 
She  also  pointed  to  a  question  if  the  student  had  it  wrong  so  that  the  student  would  look  at  it 
again.  Luckie  attributed  the  high  erasures  in  her  class  to  these  types  of  prompts.  Luckie 
believed  that  other  teachers  similarly  assisted  their  students.  One  former  teacher  at  Fain,  Ms. 
Moore,  had  a  class  that  struggled  academically  but  all  her  students  exceeded  on  the  CRCT. 

2.  Cedric  Carwise  (Teacher) 

Cedric  Carwise  admitted  to  improperly  rewording  questions  so  his  students  could  better 
understand  them.  Principal  Stallworth  drilled  the  teachers  at  Fain  with  APS  targets,  especially 
grades  three  through  five.  He  told  Carwise  not  to  forget  the  "power  of  the  voice."  Stallworth 
then  demonstrated  to  Carwise  how  to  use  voice  inflection.  Stallworth  often  told  teachers  that 
they  needed  to  use  "any  means  necessary"  to  ensure  the  students  passed  the  CRCT. 

3.  Marcus  Stallworth  (Principal) 

Marcus  Stallworth  served  as  Principal  at  Fain  until  December  2010.  He  denied  cheating 
on  the  CRCT  or  encouraging  teachers  to  cheat.  He  never  suggested  that  teachers  use  voice 
inflection  during  a  test  and  never  told  them  to  reword  questions.  Once,  in  a  faculty  meeting,  he 
demonstrated  the  use  of  voice  inflection  on  a  test  as  an  example  of  a  tactic  that  teachers  should 
not  use.  He  claimed  that  some  of  the  teachers  may  have  misinterpreted  that  suggestion. 


223 


He  denied  telling  teachers  to  "do  what  they  needed  to  do"  to  make  sure  students  pass  the 
test.  Rather,  he  said  he  told  his  teachers  to  "do  what  they  needed  to  do  to  make  sure  students 
were  ready  to  sit  down  and  take  the  test." 

Stallworth  confirmed  that  he  told  teachers  that  their  evaluations  could  be  changed  based 
on  their  students'  CRCT  scores.  APS  administrators  instructed  principals  to  convey  that 
message  to  their  teachers.  He  never  changed  any  teacher's  evaluation  as  a  result  of  test  scores. 

In  December  2010,  APS  terminated  Stallworth  claiming  he  screamed  at  teachers  and 
demeaned  them.  He  believes  that  his  termination  was  in  retaliation  for  statements  he  made  in  an 
interview  in  the  spring  of  2009  as  part  of  an  investigation  into  cheating.  Stallworth  explained 
that  during  that  interview  he  said  that  some  APS  schools  made  huge  jumps  in  test  scores  and  that 
he  understood  why  APS  had  come  under  suspicion.  Stallworth  suspects  that  some  cheating  was 
going  on  in  APS  due  to  large  jumps  in  test  scores  in  such  a  short  period  of  time. 

In  the  fall  of  2009,  SRT-1  Executive  Director  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams  held  a 
conference  call  with  all  the  principals  in  SRT  1.  She  instructed  her  principals  to  collect 
everything  they  had  regarding  the  CRCT,  including  e-mails,  teacher  materials,  testing 
motivation,  and  training  packets.  Stallworth  sent  those  items  to  her  in  a  three-ring  binder.  It 
appeared  that  Davis-Williams  was  in  a  hurry  to  get  the  material.  During  that  same 
teleconference,  Dr.  Davis- Williams  told  the  SRT-1  principals  they  were  not  to  use  their  email  or 
the  telephone  to  send  out  anything  related  to  the  CRCT.  Stallworth  commented  to  his  ILS  that, 
"if  APS  did  nothing  wrong,  they  were  certainly  making  it  appear  as  if  they  had." 

APS  put  pressure  on  principals  to  meet  targets.  During  principals'  meetings,  and  in  the 
annual  meeting  with  Dr.  Hall,  the  administrators  told  principals  that  their  evaluations  were  tied  to 
targets.  Dr.  Hall  would  go  around  the  room  and  almost  force  principals  to  say  they  would  meet 
90%  of  their  targets. 

The  APS  system  is  hostile  from  the  top  to  the  bottom.  "If  you  are  not  a  puppet,  you  get 
gone."  The  "puppeteering  comes  from  the  top." 

4.        Pamela  Ringer  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Pamela  Ringer  denied  knowledge  of,  or  participation  in,  cheating.  She  denied  ever 
hearing  Principal  Stallworth  tell  teachers  to  use  voice  inflection  or  prompt  students  in  any  way 
on  the  CRCT. 

E.        Other  Evidence 

•  Fain  met  AYP  in  the  2006-2007,  2007-2008,  and  2008-2009  school  years. 

•  In  2009-2010,  Fain  did  not  meet  AYP  criteria  for  academic  performance. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Stallworth  and  Testing  Coordinator  Pamela  Ringer  directed 
and  facilitated  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  other  years.  Stallworth  and  Ringer  deny  any 


224 


knowledge  of  cheating,  but  numerous  teachers  testified  that  Stallworth  and  Ringer  instructed 
them  to  assist  students  during  the  administration  of  the  CRCT  by  using  voice  inflection, 
prompting,  giving  answers,  allowing  students  additional  time  and  changing  answers  to  improve 
student  scores.  Many  teachers  admitted  that  they  followed  their  leaders'  directives  to  cheat  due 
to  intimidation,  fear  of  job  loss  or  negative  evaluations. 

Sabrina  Luckie  and  Cedric  Carwise  admit  that  they  followed  Principal  Stallworth' s 
instructions  to  cheat. 

Although  no  one  confessed  to  erasing  and  changing  answers,  the  statistical  improbability 
of  even  the  lowest  standard  deviations  at  Fain,  as  well  as  a  review  of  the  student  test  data,  points 
to  adults  erasing  and  changing  answers.  One  witness  observed  Principal  Stallworth  and  Testing 
Coordinator  Ringer  looking  over  the  tests.  This  same  witness  stated  that  these  administrators 
were  frequently  at  the  school  together. 

Principal  Marcus  Stallworth  failed  in  his  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and 
for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that 
Principal  Stallworth  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting 
or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


225 


SLATER  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1320  Pryor  Road  Principal:  Dr.  Selena  Dukes- Walton  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Vanessa  Jackson 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Slater  Elementary  in  2009.  Twenty-seven  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating. 
Cheating  at  Slater  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness 
testimony.  Testing  Coordinator  Vanessa  Jackson  and  Principal  Selena  Dukes-Walton  knew 
about  cheating.  Principal  Dukes-Walton  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

30.3 

5.2 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

30 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

15(10) 

4(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

10 

3.4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

31.8 

3.7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3 

3 

226 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

GRESHAM 

1  LA 

3.364767019 

LYNUM 

1  RD 

3.036639216 

LYNUM 

1  MA 

3.074088147 

WALKER 

1  RD 

5.609065799 

WALKER 

1  LA 

13.37276937 

WALKER 

1  MA 

19.84048361 

GRAHAM 

2  RD 

15.76058602 

GRAHAM 

2  LA 

16.91452997 

GRAHAM 

2  MA 

16.59604769 

NOLAN 

2  RD 

7.388164275 

NOLAN 

2  LA 

5.165466638 

NOLAN 

2  MA 

8.327930008 

ST  ARRE 

2  MA 

7.002698269 

UNUNAKWE 

2  LA 

6.016216606 

UNUNAKWE 

2  MA 

8.565931576 

AUSMORE 

3  LA 

3.351043196 

AUSMORE 

3  MA 

3.702572445 

COLEMAN 

3  RD 

5.038191689 

TAYLOR 

3  RD 

15.16808995 

TAYLOR 

3  LA 

6.073024418 

TAYLOR 

3  MA 

4.317325691 

WINSTON 

3RD 

20.02061696 

WINSTON 

3  LA 

3.114788407 

BLACKMON 

4  RD 

4.354670541 

BLACKMON 

4  LA 

4.321901605 

GRANT 

4  RD 

11.86774071 

GRANT 

4  LA 

18.72779953 

GRANT 

4  MA 

23.89018266 

HICKS 

4  RD 

31.79652758 

JONES 

5  RD 

3.564907392 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Teachers  Ellen  Grant  and  Nettie  Walker  gave  students  the  answers  during  the  2009 
CRCT.  Grant  allowed  her  students  to  go  home  and  look  up  answers  and  then  change  the 
previous  day's  answers.  She  also  erased  and  changed  answers  on  her  students'  tests.  Nettie 
Walker  gave  students  the  answers  during  the  test  and  changed  answers  in  the  media  center  while 
"erasing  stray  marks  " 

Testing  Coordinator  Vanessa  Jackson  saw  Ellen  Grant  changing  answers  and  did  not  tell 
her  to  stop.  Principal  Dukes-Walton  created  an  environment  that  pressured  teachers  to  cheat,  and 
she  knew  they  were  cheating. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Katrina  Coleman  (Teacher) 

Katrina  Coleman  heard  that  Principal  Dukes-Walton  asked  Math  Coach  Shenita  Monroe 
to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Coleman  also  heard  that  Gwendolyn  Taylor's  husband  saw 
Principal  Dukes-Walton's  car  at  Slater  on  the  weekend  between  the  first  and  second  week  of  the 
CRCT  when  the  tests  were  located  at  the  school. 


227 


Principal  Dukes-Walton  was  focused  on  CRCT  results.  At  a  faculty  meeting  she  used  a 
power  point  presentation  to  list  every  teacher  and  their  students'  test  scores.  Coleman  felt  this 
was  done  to  embarrass  teachers  with  lower  test  scores.  Each  year,  Principal  Dukes-Walton 
prepared  a  document  that  informed  the  teachers  how  many  students  needed  to  meet  or  exceed 
expectations  on  the  CRCT.  They  would  go  over  this  information  in  January,  and  a  copy  of  the 
memorandum  would  be  placed  in  the  testing  materials  in  April.  A  copy  of  the  Memorandum 
included  as  Attachment  A. 

Coleman's  students  tried  to  tell  her  that  teachers  gave  them  the  answers  in  previous  years 
but  Coleman  would  not  let  them  explain  because  she  did  not  want  to  have  to  report  cheating. 
She  feared  retaliation  if  she  reported  the  students'  allegations. 

Coleman  heard  that  Principal  Dukes-Walton  asked  each  teacher  at  Slater  whether  they 
had  been  subpoenaed  for  this  investigation.  Administrators  constantly  reminded  teachers  they 
should  keep  quiet  and  not  cooperate  with  the  investigation. 

Coleman  said  she  believes  APS  is  like  an  "organized  crime  family"  because  APS  has  a 
way  of  making  things  disappear.  For  example,  Coleman  filed  a  grievance  while  at  Slater  and 
submitted  it  to  SRT-2  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts.  The  grievance  was  about  stolen  money 
that  Principal  Dukes- Walton  knew  about  but  did  not  address.  Coleman  has  never  heard  anything 
from  APS  about  her  grievance. 

2.  Schajuan  Jones  (Teacher) 

At  the  end  of  the  testing  week  teachers  from  each  grade  level  were  called  to  the  media 
center  to  erase  stray  marks.  Schajuan  Jones  saw  Ellen  Grant  erasing  an  entire  section  on  an 
answer  sheet.  Jones  told  Grant  to  stop  cheating  and  then  approached  Testing  Coordinator 
Vanessa  Jackson  to  report  this  misconduct.  Jackson  did  not  take  any  action  until  Jones 
complained  a  second  time,  when  Jackson  finally  told  Grant  to  stop  erasing  answers.  According 
to  Jones,  the  other  teachers  in  the  room  were  laughing  during  this  exchange.  An  SRT-2 
representative,  Maxine  Coleman,  was  present  for  this  incident,  as  were  most  of  the  fourth  and 
fifth  grade  teachers.  Jones  specifically  remembers  that  Janice  Hicks  and  Jermaine  Ausmore  were 
present.  Jones  indicated  that  this  "erasing  of  stray  marks"  as  a  group  occurred  all  three  years  she 
taught  at  Slater. 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  Jones  saw  Shenita  Monroe  walking  from  the  direction  of  the 
school's  main  office  making  comments  about  not  doing  something.  Jones  asked  Monroe  what 
she  was  talking  about.  Monroe  said  she  was  talking  about  changing  answers  on  the  CRCT. 
Monroe  also  mentioned  Principal  Dukes-Walton's  name,  but  did  not  specifically  say  that  the 
principal  asked  her  to  change  answers.  However,  Jones  believes  that  Principal  Dukes-Walton 
asked  Monroe  to  change  answers  on  the  CRCT. 

3.  Shenita  Monroe  (Teacher) 

Shenita  Monroe  denied  the  incident  reported  by  Schajuan  Jones.  Monroe  says  that 
Principal  Dukes-Walton  never  asked  her  to  cheat.  However,  Dukes-Walton  did  put  Monroe  on  a 
PDP  for  low  test  scores.  The  PDP  did  not  explicitly  state  that  low  test  scores  were  the  reason  for 
the  PDP,  but  Dukes-Walton  told  Monroe  that  was  the  reason  for  the  PDP. 


228 


4.        Ellen  Grant  (Teacher) 


Ellen  Grant  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  encouraged  students  to  go 
home  and  look  up  the  answers  to  the  CRCT  questions.  The  next  day  she  allowed  the  students  to 
go  back  to  previous  sections  and  change  their  answers.  Grant  also  changed  answers  herself 
while  her  proctor  took  the  students  to  the  restroom.  She  changed  answers  for  the  "middle 
performers." 

Grant  denied  changing  answers  in  the  media  center  with  other  teachers.  She  claimed  she 
could  not  have  changed  answers  then  because  she  did  not  have  the  test  booklets.  Grant 
emphasized  several  times  she  was  alone  when  she  cheated  and  that  she  did  not  erase  answers  in 
front  of  anyone  and  that  no  one  directed  her  to  cheat. 

5.        Nettie  Walker  (Teacher) 

Nettie  Walker  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT.  She  gave  her  students  the  answers  to 
CRCT  questions  in  2009  and  in  previous  years.  Walker  walked  around  the  classroom  during  the 
test  and  when  she  noticed  that  a  majority  of  the  class  was  getting  a  particular  question  wrong,  she 
would  give  the  whole  class  the  answer.  Walker  thinks  that  she  provided  five  to  seven  answers 
per  section.  She  also  admitted  to  changing  one  answer  in  2009.  One  student  had  a  "meltdown" 
during  the  test  and  while  Walker  was  erasing  stray  marks  in  the  media  center  she  reviewed  that 
student's  test.  She  saw  one  answer  that  she  believed  the  student  knew  but  had  wrong,  and  she 
changed  the  student's  answer.  When  the  teachers  erased  stray  marks  in  the  media  center,  they 
had  both  the  test  booklets  and  the  answer  sheets  available. 

C.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

/.        Dr.  Selena  Dukes-Walton  (Principal) 

Principal  Dukes-Walton  denied  cheating  or  having  knowledge  of  cheating.  In  her 
interviews,  she  pointed  out  that  Slater  did  not  make  AYP  in  2009.  She  was  unable  to  offer  an 
explanation  for  why  the  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  her  school  were  so  high. 

Principal  Dukes-Walton  observed  the  erasing  of  stray  marks  in  the  media  center.  She 
claimed  that  test  booklets  were  not  available  while  the  teachers  erased  stray  marks. 

She  denied  asking  any  teacher  whether  the  investigators  subpoenaed  them.  She  claimed 
that  teachers  told  her  when  they  had  to  be  out  of  the  school  to  meet  with  investigators  because 
she  had  to  arrange  for  someone  to  watch  their  class. 

2.        Vanessa  Jackson  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Vanessa  Jackson  called  all  of  the  teachers  to  the  media  center  by  grade  level  to  erase 
stray  marks.  The  teachers  would  check  the  tests  of  their  own  students  and  make  sure  the  tests 
were  clear  of  stray  marks.  No  one  erased  answers  and  no  one  ever  told  her  that  anyone  was 
erasing  answers. 


229 


3.        Wanda  Harmon  (Assistant  Principal) 


Wanda  Harmon  denied  cheating  or  having  knowledge  of  cheating. 

4.  Maxim  Coleman  fSRT-2  Proctor) 

Maxine  Coleman  was  assigned  to  Slater  to  observe  the  2009  CRCT  administration. 
Coleman  denied  seeing  anyone  erase  answers. 

5.  Akisha  Graham  (Teacher) 

Akisha  Graham  was  not  implicated  by  anyone  but  the  wrong-to-right  erasure  analysis 
flagged  three  of  her  classes  with  standard  deviations  of  16,  17,  and  17.  When  interviewed  by  a 
GBI  agent,  she  smirked  and  said  that  the  interview  was  a  waste  of  her  time. 

6.  Janice  Hicks  (Teacher) 

Schajuan  Jones  testified  that  Hicks  witnessed  Jones  complain  about  Grant  changing 
answers  in  the  media  center.  Hicks  denied  cheating;  however,  Hicks  had  the  highest  number  of 
wrong-to-right  erasures  in  the  school.  She  was  flagged  in  the  reading  subject  area  with  a 
standard  deviation  of  3 1.9. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

There  was  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Slater  Elementary.  Our  conclusion  is  based  on 
the  following  evidence:  (1)  Principal  Dukes-Walton  put  pressure  on  teachers  to  raise  CRCT 
scores;  (2)  teachers  erased  "stray  marks"  in  the  media  center  and  Nettie  Walker  and  Ellen  Grant 
changed  answers  while  "erasing  stray  marks";  (3)  Ellen  Grant  let  her  students  look  up  the 
answers  and  change  tests  themselves;  and  (4)  Schajuan  Jones  reported  Grant  for  changing 
answers  and  no  action  was  taken.  This  evidence  leads  us  to  conclude  that  many  teachers  at 
Slater  altered  test  documents. 

Teachers  changed  answers  in  the  media  center  while  they  claimed  to  be  erasing  stray 
marks.  Ellen  Grant  admitted  that  she  changed  answers  in  her  classroom.  We  believe  Grant 
changed  answers  in  the  media  center  in  the  presence  of  Maxine  Coleman,  Vanessa  Jackson, 
Janice  Hicks,  and  Jermaine  Ausmore.  We  conclude  that  Janice  Hicks  erased  students'  answers, 
too,  due  to  the  statistical  improbability  of  31.8  standard  deviations  from  the  state  norm, 
combined  with  the  testimony  of  Schajuan  Jones. 

Testing  Coordinator  Vanessa  Jackson  knew  the  teachers  were  changing  answers.  The 
cheating  occurred  in  the  media  center,  when  only  four  to  six  people  were  present.  With  such  a 
small  group  in  the  media  center  at  a  time,  Jackson  would  have  noticed  someone  erasing  answers. 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Dukes-Walton  knew  or  should  have  known  there  was 
cheating  at  this  school.  She  created  an  environment  in  which  teachers  felt  pressured  by  ridicule 
to  ensure  that  their  students'  scores  improved.  She  also  put  memorandums  in  each  teachers' 
testing  materials  to  inform  them  of  how  many  students  must  meet  or  exceed  expectations.  As 


230 


one  teacher  stated,  teachers  could  not  ensure  how  students  did  on  the  test  once  the  test  started, 
unless  they  cheated. 

It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  obtained  in  this 
investigation  as  to  system  wide  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  that  Principal  Dukes-Walton  failed 
to  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


231 


The  table  below  shows  the  number  of  students  from  your  class  that  MUST  EXCEED  standards  on  the  2009  -  2010  CRCT  in 
Reading,  EngHsh/Language  Arts,  Mathematics,  Science,  Social  Studies,  and  Georgia  5*  Grade  Writing  Assessment.  . 
It  also  shows  the  number  of  students  we  can  afford  to  have  absent  10  or  more  days  from  your  class. 
It  will  take  EVERYONE  working  TOGETHER,  EVERYDAY  to  make  the  above  headline  a  REALITY!!! 


Reading 

English/ 
Language  Arts 

Mathematics 

Science 

Social  Studies 

Writing 

Attendance 

Grade 

Does 

Exceed 

Does 

Exceed 

Does 

Exceed 

Does 

Exceed 

Does 

Exceed 

Does  Not 

Exceed 

Students 

Level 

Not 

Not 

Not 

Not 

Not 

Meet 

Absent  10 

Meet 

Meet 

Meet 

Meet 

Meet 

Days  of  More 

3H 

4 

5 

4 

4 

5 

5 

5 

5 

5 

4 

N/A 

N/A 

2 

CSJ 
B 

t"  ""V 


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>  ^^aSfr.  Suture:  Mftv  ^JjM 


Date: 


Principal's  Signature:^ 


Date; 


■4#Wf     each  kwrt extern, 

Together  Everyone  Achieves  More 


CD 
i 


JO 


THOMASVILLE  HEIGHTS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1 820  Henry  Thomas  Dr.  SE  Principal:  Janice  Kelsey  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Tracey  Fisher 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Thomasville  Heights  Elementary  in  2008  and  2009. 
Thirty-two  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers 
confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at  Thomasville  Heights  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of 
flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Janice  Kelsey  failed  to 
properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

39.1 

7.2 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

34 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number"  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

15(11) 

3(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.1 

6.3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

14.6 

9.6 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.2 

233 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

BEAUFORT 

1  RD 

6.592096573 

BEAUFORT 

1  LA 

12.56542713 

BEAUFORT 

1  MA 

7.893137848 

COHEN 

1  RD 

6.294592751 

COHEN 

1  LA 

5.940398975 

COHEN 

1  MA 

5.116794989 

MCKEITHEN 

1  MA 

4.886755241 

NICKOLICH 

1  MA 

3.285995043 

OLIVER 

1  LA 

4.546905732 

DALIDE 

2  RD 

5.285191345 

DALIDE 

2  LA 

5.396477417 

DALIDE 

2  MA 

4.29678822 

SWAIN  P 

2  RD 

8.79181171 

SWAIN  P 

2  LA 

10.23762982 

SWArNP 

2  MA 

6.088495889 

WALLER 

2  RD 

5.856558037 

WALLER 

2  LA 

7.920618241 

WALLER 

2  MA 

9.078163504 

HUBBARD 

3  RD 

9.676394581 

HUBBARD 

3  LA 

6.743629425 

HUBBARD 

3  MA 

4.751842097 

BROWN 

4  RD 

3.111356934 

SAVAGE 

4  RD 

10.38147811 

SAVAGE 

4  MA 

10.73819265 

BIDULESCU 

5  RD 

12.79621953 

BIDULESCU 

5  LA 

14.64533258 

BIDULESCU 

5  MA 

3.152159194 

DAY 

5  RD 

4.320453585 

DAY 

5  MA 

5.589028002 

FORRER 

5  RD 

8.890145458 

FORRER 

5  LA 

6.260625917 

FORRER 

5  MA 

11.36464914 

THOMAS  VILLE 

5  LA 

3.707339187 

THOMAS  VILLE 

5  MA 

5.589336097 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Thomasville  Heights 
Elementary  School  was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately 
reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  39. 1%  for  the  2009  CRCT. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  15  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Thomasville  Heights. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  39.1%  to  7.2%. 

Fourth,  of  the  34  flagged  classrooms  at  Thomasville  Heights,  25  (74%  of  the  total)  had 
standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  seven  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 


234 


intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Thomasville  Heights. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  68%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  39.1%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  two  teachers  admitted  to  cheating.  Two  first  grade  teachers  confessed  to  prompting 
their  students  in  the  classroom.  One  teacher  walked  around  while  testing  and  if  several  students 
missed  a  question,  she  might  rephrase  the  question  and  prompt  students  to  remember  what  they 
were  taught  in  class.  Another  teacher  admitted  to  reading  the  questions  aloud  more  than  twice 
and  pointing  to  questions  she  noticed  students  got  wrong  and  telling  them  to  re-read  it.  These 
teachers  believe  that  their  actions  caused  their  students  to  erase  and  change  answers  from  wrong 
to  right. 

B.  Narrative 

Teachers  who  cheated,  and  others  interviewed,  cited  the  intense  pressure  they  felt  to 
increase  test  scores  and  make  targets.  Principal  Janice  Kelsey  had  been  on  several  PDPs  and  felt 
pressure  from  her  SRT  Executive  Director.  Teachers  were  threatened  with  PDPs  and  job  loss. 
Principal  Kelsey  and  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher  allowed  teachers  to  pick  up  tests  as  early 
as  7:30  a.m.  and  keep  them  late.  Stray  marks  could  be  erased  by  teachers  in  their  classrooms  or 
in  the  conference  room.  No  one  seemed  clear  on  the  proper  policy. 

APS  was  alerted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  based  on  events  in  2008.  Between  March 
and  May  2008,  APS's  Office  of  Internal  Resolution  received  allegations  of  cheating  and 
workplace  improprieties  involving  Principal  Janice  Kelsey.  The  cheating  allegations  stemmed 
from  an  anonymous  phone  call  in  April  2008  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education  (DOE). 
The  caller  alleged  that  Principal  Kelsey  was  putting  extreme  pressure  on  teachers  to  meet  targets 
and  threatening  to  place  teachers  not  meeting  targets  on  a  PDP.  The  caller  also  alleged  that 
Principal  Kelsey  told  teachers  that  "hints"  should  be  provided  to  students  during  CRCT  testing. 
The  cheating  allegations  were  investigated  by  an  external  investigator,  Stan  Williams,  who 
conducted  interviews  of  staff  at  Thomasville  Heights  and  submitted  reports  of  his  findings  to 
OIRin  May  2008. 

The  2008  external  investigation  looked  into  other  allegations  of  testing-related 
improprieties  that  had  occurred  at  Thomasville  Heights.  One  allegation  was  that  Principal 
Kelsey  went  into  teacher  Emily  Cohen's  first  grade  classroom  during  testing  and  administered 
part  of  the  test.  Cohen  was  having  difficulty  controlling  the  students'  behavior  during  the  test. 
On  the  second  day  Principal  Kelsey  selected  certain  students  from  Cohen's  class,  and  some  from 
other  classes,  and  tested  them  separately  in  Cohen's  classroom.  Principal  Kelsey  took  over  the 
reading  of  different  test  subjects,  at  times  reading  too  quickly,  or  re-reading  the  questions  more 
than  two  times.  Cohen  stated  that  Principal  Kelsey  also  leaned  over  students  and  pointed  to  the 
test  book,  but  was  not  sure  she  was  pointing  at  answers. 


235 


There  was  a  missing  answer  sheet  on  the  second  day  of  CRCT  testing  in  2008.  Fourth 
grade  teacher  Giselle  Brown  had  turned  in  19  answer  sheets  on  Friday,  but  on  the  next  Monday, 
she  received  back  only  18  answer  sheets.  Additionally,  her  tests  booklets  were  in  a  different 
order  from  when  she  turned  them  in.  The  missing  answer  sheet  was  reported  to  Principal  Kelsey, 
and  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher.  After  an  extensive  search,  the  answer  sheet  could  not  be 
found  and  the  matter  was  reported  to  Cari  Ryan  in  APS  Research,  Planning  and  Accountability. 
Days  later,  the  missing  answer  sheet  was  found  by  Giselle  Brown  under  a  bookcase  in  her 
classroom.  She  was  unable  to  explain  how  that  had  occurred. 

Principal  Kelsey' s  car  was  seen  at  the  school  on  Saturday  of  the  weekend  the  answer 
sheet  was  missing  in  2008.  At  least  one  witness  mentioned  that  other  teachers'  cars  had  been 
seen  that  day  along  with  Principal  Kelsey's,  including  Raine  Hackler,  Stacey  Brundage,  and 
Makisha  Boddie.  Some  witnesses  questioned  had  difficulty  recalling  whether  the  sighting  of 
Principal  Kelsey's  car  happened  during  the  2008  or  2009  CRCT.  The  OIR  report  indicates  that 
the  alleged  sighting  was  reported  in  2008. 

Williams'  report  found  that  all  allegations  of  cheating  and  testing  improprieties  by 
Principal  Kelsey  "had  no  merit."  In  a  separate  report,  Williams  found  "no  evidence"  that  Kelsey 
threatened  teachers  to  meet  targets  or  be  placed  on  PDPs,  or  that  she  instructed  teachers  to  give 
hints  or  answers  during  CRCT  testing.  In  a  June  23,  2008  letter,  Superintendent  Beverly  Hall 
informed  Principal  Kelsey  that  the  investigations  were  complete  and  the  allegations  found  to  be 
unsubstantiated. 

C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Jennitra  Oliver  (Teacher) 

Jennitra  Oliver  admitted  that  during  testing  she  walked  around  and  if  several  students 
missed  a  question  she  rephrased  the  question  and  told  the  students  to  remember  what  was  taught 
in  class.  Oliver  believes  that  accounted  for  the  erasures  in  her  class.  She  denied  giving  children 
the  answers  and  denied  erasing  answers.  She  erased  stray  marks  in  her  classroom  and  may  have 
erased  them  in  the  conference  room.  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher  was  present  in  the 
conference  room  when  stray  marks  were  erased.  Oliver  could  not  recall  if  other  teachers  erased 
in  the  conference  room.  No  one  instructed  her  to  erase  stray  marks  in  her  classroom  or  the 
conference  room.  She  erased  the  marks  because  she  knew  they  were  picked  up  by  the  scoring 
machine. 

2.  Theresa  Nickolich  (Teacher) 

Theresa  Nickolich  admitted  to  prompting  her  students  during  testing  by  pointing  to 
questions  that  she  noticed  were  incorrect  and  telling  the  student  to  re-read  the  question.  She  read 
the  question  more  than  twice  but  denied  telling  students  the  answer.  Nickolich  recalled  that 
teachers  were  instructed  by  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher  to  erase  stray  marks  after  testing 
each  day.  She  cleaned  the  stray  marks  in  her  classroom,  and  could  not  recall  whether  teachers 
cleaned  stray  marks  together  in  the  conference  room.  She  denies  changing  any  answers. 

Nickolich  stated  that  there  was  pressure  to  raise  scores  from  Principal  Kelsey,  who  was 
being  pressured  herself.  Everything  in  APS  was  driven  by  the  test  scores. 


236 


3.        Giselle  Brown  (Teacher) 


Giselle  Brown  was  a  fourth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  recalls  the  incident  of  the  missing 
answer  sheet  that  was  investigated  in  2008.  She  said  that  the  Friday  after  testing  began  she  took 
her  test  booklets  and  answer  sheets  to  the  conference  room  as  usual.  She  and  the  testing 
coordinator,  Tracey  Fisher,  each  counted  19  booklets  and  19  answer  sheets.  Monday  morning 
Brown  went  to  the  conference  room  to  pick  up  her  tests  for  the  last  day  of  test  administration. 
There  were  19  test  booklets  but  only  18  answer  sheets.  Brown  and  Fisher  searched  everywhere 
but  could  not  find  it.  Brown  also  noticed  that  her  test  booklets  were  out  of  order.  She  knew  that 
when  she  turned  them  in  on  Friday  they  were  in  alphabetical  order.  Brown  found  the  missing 
answer  sheet  days  later  under  a  bookcase.  She  felt  that  it  had  to  have  been  placed  there  long 
after  the  answer  sheet  was  noted  as  missing  because  it  could  not  have  fallen  in  that  spot.  Brown 
believed  that  someone  went  through  her  students  answer  sheets  and  changed  answers  from 
wrong  to  right. 

Brown  stated  that  there  is  tremendous  pressure  on  teachers  to  meet  targets.  It  was  "all 
about  the  numbers."  Principal  Kelsey  was  no  longer  at  the  school  but  Brown  said  the  current 
principal  was  also  focused  on  the  numbers  and  ruled  with  a  "heavy  hand."  She  believed,  and  it 
was  obvious  to  her,  there  was  cheating  at  Thomasville  Heights.  She  had  several  fourth  grade 
students  who  could  barely  read  simple  sentences  and  yet  did  well  on  the  CRCT. 

4.  Makisha  Boddie  (Literacy  Coach) 

Makisha  Boddie  was  the  literacy  coach  in  2008  and  left  Thomasville  Heights  after  the 
2007-2008  school  year.  During  the  2008  CRCT,  Boddie  was  a  hall  monitor.  Teachers  were  able 
to  pick  up  their  tests  as  early  as  they  wanted.  The  testing  coordinator,  Tracey  Fisher,  would  sign 
them  out.  Boddie  recalled  the  incident  of  the  answer  sheet  that  went  missing  over  the  weekend 
of  the  2008  testing.  It  was  eventually  found  under  a  bookcase  in  Giselle  Brown's  classroom  and 
Boddie  recalled  that  there  was  something  peculiar  about  how  it  was  found.  Boddie  discussed  the 
matter  with  Principal  Kelsey,  who  admitted  that  she  was  at  the  school  over  the  weekend  that  the 
answer  sheet  went  missing.  Principal  Kelsey  stated  that  she  went  to  school  to  clean  her  office. 

The  administrators  placed  a  lot  of  pressure  on  teachers  to  score  high  on  the  CRCT. 
Teachers  were  threatened  with  PDPs  if  their  test  scores  were  low.  She  heard  Principal  Kelsey 
say  "if  I  am  going  to  be  placed  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores,  then  so  will  you."  SRT-2  Executive 
Director  Michael  Pitts  told  teachers  that  they  would  be  fired  if  targets  were  not  met.  Boddie  was 
surprised  that  some  students  passed  the  CRCT.  As  the  literacy  coach,  she  knew  certain  students 
whose  ability  did  not  match  their  high  test  scores. 

5.  Christopher  Forrer  (Teacher) 

Christopher  Forrer  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  in  2009  and  was  flagged  in  all  subjects  for 
high  wrong-to-right  erasures.  He  was  not  surprised  by  the  number  of  answers  changed  in  his 
class  and  thought  there  was  cheating  at  the  school.  Teachers  were  under  so  much  pressure  that 
they  likely  changed  answers  themselves.  Forrer  thought  that  administrators  changed  answers  as 
well.  He  cited  numerous  testing  violations  and  irregularities.  For  example,  during  the  2009 
CRCT,  his  students  told  him  on  the  third  day  of  testing  that  their  answers  had  been  erased  and 


237 


corrections  made.  Forrer  looked  at  the  answer  sheets  and  noticed  numerous  answers  had  been 
changed.  He  thinks  there  was  "funny  business"  going  on  with  the  tests  and  that  someone 
changed  answers  from  wrong  to  right.  Teachers  could  pick  up  their  tests  as  early  as  they  wanted. 
Teachers  could  be  alone  with  the  test  materials  for  as  long  as  an  hour  before  testing  started,  and 
could  bring  the  tests  back  late  "with  no  questions  asked."  The  lack  of  protocols  was 
"deliberate." 

6.        Deborah  Clements  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  one  of  her  students  raised  her  hand  after  testing  had  begun  and 
informed  Deborah  Clements  that  two  or  three  pages  of  her  test  book  had  the  answers  already 
marked  in  it.  Clements  reported  it  to  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher.  The  student  was  given 
a  new  test  book,  and  a  few  days  later  the  incident  was  written  up  and  also  reported  to  APS  by 
Clements  and  Fisher  via  speakerphone  from  Fisher's  office.  (Fisher  denied  this  incident  ever 
occurred,  or  if  it  had,  it  was  not  during  the  CRCT.)  Clements  was  interviewed  again,  at  which 
time  she  confirmed  that  it  was  the  CRCT. 

Clements  suspects  someone  changed  answers  on  the  CRCT.  She  had  students  from  lower 
grades  who  scored  well  on  the  CRCT,  but  lacked  basic  skills  and  could  not  read. 

Clements  was  reassigned  to  teach  second  grade.  She  believes  this  was  a  demotion  for 
low  test  scores.  There  was  tremendous  pressure  exerted  to  ensure  students  performed  well  on  the 
CRCT.  Principal  Kelsey  would  come  back  from  SRT  meetings  and  "rake  the  teachers  over  the 
coals"  for  low  test  scores.  Test  scores  were  tied  to  evaluations. 

D.       Testimony  of  Additional  Witnesses 

/.        Stacey  Brundage  (Teacher) 

Stacey  Brundage  left  Thomasville  Heights  in  2008  and  was  not  present  for  the  2009 
CRCT  testing.  She  denies  being  at  the  school  on  the  Saturday  of  2009  CRCT  testing  as  some 
had  reported.  She  thinks  Lisa  Hubbard  may  have  cheated  because  her  scores  were  always  higher 
than  average. 

2.  Ashley  Beaufort  (Teacher) 

Ashley  Beaufort  said  that  Principal  Kelsey  entered  her  class  during  2009  CRCT  testing, 
pointed  to  questions,  and  stood  beside  some  of  the  students  to  get  them  to  focus. 

3.  Susan  Young  (School  Secretary) 

Susan  Young  was  the  school  secretary  in  2009.  The  tests  were  kept  in  the  vault  where 
student  records  were  kept.  Only  she  and  Principal  Kelsey  had  the  key  to  the  vault.  She  knew  that 
in  2008,  an  answer  sheet  went  missing  over  a  weekend  and  knew  Principal  Kelsey  was  there  that 
weekend. 


238 


4. 


Lisa  Hubbard  (Teacher) 


Lisa  Hubbard  was  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  in  all  subjects.  She  stated  that 
she  had  been  suspended  on  allegations  she  had  struck  a  student.  She  did  not  plan  on  returning  to 
work  for  APS.  There  was  a  lot  of  pressure  to  meet  targets,  especially  from  the  SRT  directors  and 
other  school  administrators.  She  denied  cheating. 


Valerie  Oliver  was  a  fourth  grade  teacher  in  2008.  During  the  2008  CRCT,  she  picked  up 
her  students'  test  booklets  on  the  Monday  following  the  first  week  of  testing  and  found  that  they 
were  out  of  order.  She  told  the  testing  coordinator,  Tracey  Fisher,  who  stated  that  it  must  have 
been  a  result  of  how  Fisher  had  picked  them  up  and  handed  them  to  Oliver. 

E.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


Janice  Kelsey  was  principal  of  Thomasville  Heights  Elementary  School  in  2009  and 
retired  after  the  2008-2009  school  year.  She  presently  works  part-time  at  a  charter  school  run  by 
former  Thomasville  Heights  teacher  Raine  Hackler.  Kelsey  was  placed  on  a  PDP  for  her  last 
two  or  three  years  by  Michael  Pitts  for  failure  to  meet  targets  and  "other  reasons."  She  and  Pitts 
did  not  get  along.  They  had  different  management  philosophies  and  styles.  Principal  Kelsey 
inherited  a  number  of  disgruntled  employees  who  wrote  an  anonymous  letter  to  Pitts  about  her. 
Pitts  came  to  the  school  and  conducted  a  survey  of  the  employees  with  regard  to  her  leadership 
style.  She  believed  there  was  pressure  in  the  system  but  tried  not  to  pass  it  on.  She  denied 
telling  teachers  she  would  put  them  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores.  Teachers  who  said  that  about 
her  "were  lying." 

Principal  Kelsey  recalled  the  OER  investigations  in  2008  and  the  missing  answer  sheet. 
Giselle  Brown  found  the  missing  answer  sheet  behind  a  shelf  when  she  was  cleaning  her 
classroom  at  the  end  of  the  school  year.  Principal  Kelsey  believes  that  the  answer  sheet  fell 
behind  the  shelf  before  Brown  turned  them  in  and  that  her  instructional  coaches,  Stacey 
Brundage  and  Makisha  Boddie,  miscounted  the  tests. 

Regarding  her  car  being  seen  at  the  school  over  the  2008  CRCT  weekend  when  the 
answer  sheet  was  missing,  Principal  Kelsey  recalled  that  she  went  to  the  school  that  Saturday, 
which  she  usually  did  not  do  during  testing  week.  She  had  her  grandsons  with  her  but  could  not 
recall  her  reason  for  going  to  the  school  that  weekend.  She  does  not  recall  how  long  she  was  at 
the  school,  and  denies  that  any  staff  members  were  present. 

Principal  Kelsey  had  no  idea  why  people  would  suspect  her  of  doing  anything  to  the  tests. 
She  said  if  she  was  going  to  cheat  she  would  have  done  it  well  enough  to  make  targets.  Principal 
Kelsey  denied  going  to  the  school  on  the  weekend  of  the  CRCT  in  2009.  She  did  not  remember 
going  into  Emily  Cohen's  class  during  the  2008  CRCT  and  denied  re-reading  questions  to 
Cohen's  students. 


5. 


Valerie  Oliver  (Teacher) 


1. 


Janice  Kelsey  (Principal) 


239 


Principal  Kelsey  was  surprised  at  the  high  number  of  flagged  classes  at  Thomasville 
Heights.  She  had  no  explanation  for  the  erasures  and  did  not  know  of  anyone  who  would  have 
cheated. 

2.        Tracey  Fisher  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Tracey  Fisher  was  the  testing  coordinator  in  2009  and  recalled  having  one  OIR  complaint 
filed  against  her,  which  resulted  in  a  suspension.  She  gave  the  wrong  tests  to  a  class  of  PEC 
students,  who  were  all  supposed  to  have  the  same  version.  By  the  time  she  discovered  they  had 
the  wrong  version,  students  had  begun  marking  on  the  answer  sheets.  Fisher  erased  the  answer 
sheets  and  returned  them  to  the  teacher  with  new  booklets.  She  stated  she  was  not  trying  to 
cheat. 

There  was  a  lot  of  pressure  on  teachers  to  raise  test  scores.  Former  Principal  Janice 
Kelsey  and  current  Principal  Charles  Penn  threatened  to  put  teachers  on  PDPs  for  low  test  scores. 
She  recalled  the  incident  of  the  missing  test  answer  sheet  from  Ms.  Brown's  class.  Fisher  said 
she  counted  the  sheets  and  there  were  19  sheets  turned  in  on  Friday  but  on  Monday  they  only 
found  18.  She  recalled  that  Brown  mentioned  that  her  test  booklets  were  out  of  order.  Fisher 
suspects  that  Principal  Kelsey  took  the  answer  sheets  to  change  answers  and  forgot  to  put  one 
back.  She  was  told  by  Makisha  Boddie  that  Principal  Kelsey' s  car  was  at  the  school  on  the 
weekend  that  the  answer  sheet  went  missing. 

Fisher  does  not  recall  an  incident  during  the  2009  CRCT  administration  concerning  a  test 
booklet  given  to  one  of  Deborah  Clements'  students  that  had  answers  already  marked.  She  stated 
that  if  such  an  incident  occurred,  it  happened  with  a  different  type  of  test  where  the  booklets  are 
reused,  and  not  the  CRCT.  Fisher  said  stray  marks  were  erased  in  a  conference  room.  In  a 
previous  interview,  Fisher  denied  that  stray  marks  were  erased.  Teachers  were  allowed  to  pick 
up  their  tests  as  early  as  7:30  a.m.  for  the  CRCT.  She  was  following  the  directive  of  Principal 
Kelsey.  Fisher  was  aware  that  early  pick-up  would  provide  teachers  with  a  significant  amount  of 
time  alone  with  the  test  documents. 

F.        Other  Evidence 

•  In  2008-2009,  Thomasville  Heights  met  AYP. 

•  In  2009-20 10,  Thomasville  Heights  did  not  meet  AYP. 

•  Thomasville  Heights  did  not  meet  its  district  targets  in  2007,  2008,  2009, 
and  2010. 

•  One  second  grade  teacher  flagged  in  all  subjects  in  2009  was  flagged 
again  in  all  subjects  in  2010,  with  even  higher  standard  deviations  for 
wrong-to-right  erasures. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  at  Thomasville  Heights  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  in 
other  years.  Jennitra  Oliver  prompted  her  students  to  change  answers  from  wrong  to  right  by 


240 


rephrasing  questions  students  had  missed  and  telling  students  to  remember  what  she  had  taught 
them  in  class.  Theresa  Nickolich  admitted  to  prompting  students  by  pointing  to  questions  she 
knew  they  had  missed  and  telling  them  to  re-read  it,  and  by  re-reading  questions. 

We  also  conclude  that  Testing  Coordinator  Tracey  Fisher  either  facilitated  or  participated 
in  cheating  in  2008  and  2009. 

In  summary,  we  find  Jennitra  Oliver,  Theresa  Nickolich,  Janice  Kelsey  and  Tracey  Fisher 
were  involved  in  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

Principal  Janice  Kelsey  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  securing  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation,  that 
Principal  Kelsey  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


241 


FICKETT  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


3935  Rux  Road  SW  Principal:  Dr.  Anthony  Dorsey  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30331  Testing  Coordinator:  Angela  Thomas 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Fickett  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-nine  people  were 
interviewed  at  Fickett,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at 
Fickett  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness  testimony. 
Principal  Anthony  Dorsey  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

51.4 

9.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

37 

7 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

17(13) 

7 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.0 

3.9 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

20 

5.5 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.0 

242 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

NJIE 

1  RD 

5.613835169 

NJIE 

1  LA 

5.247525305 

NJIE 

1  MA 

3.783090582 

PARKER 

1  RD 

3.458742598 

PARKER 

1  LA 

3.244756486 

ROMENESKO 

1  RD 

3.299238647 

LITTLE 

2  LA 

5.068094291 

LITTLE 

2  MA 

6.779296001 

MARTIN 

2  LA 

6.876834481 

MARTIN 

2  MA 

5.284125896 

TAYLOR 

2  LA 

4.72562397 

TICKLES 

2  RD 

5.9150809 

TICKLES 

2  LA 

4.758242311 

TICKLES 

2  MA 

5.060000744 

W  ATKINS 

2  LA 

4.618315338 

WATKINS 

2  MA 

8.60631 1776 

CARTER 

3  RD 

6.82539656 

CARTER 

3  LA 

4.924853502 

CARTER 

3  MA 

6.605357541 

KING 

3  RD 

3.779877173 

KING 

3  LA 

3.903783686 

REDD 

3  LA 

3.630615899 

YOLING 

3  RD 

16.47921964 

YOUNG 

3  LA 

10.3293602 

YOUNG 

3  MA 

8.411153143 

MILES 

4  RD 

17.71092772 

MILES 

4  LA 

9.970842028 

MILES 

4  MA 

8.700386529 

SCOTT 

4  RD 

6.378501335 

SCOTT 

4  LA 

5.402838655 

SCOTT 

4  MA 

5.193382083 

WHEELER 

4  RD 

7.988916116 

WHEELER 

4  LA 

3.140110356 

WHEELER 

4  MA 

4.844024558 

GRAY 

5  RD 

8.993842585 

WII -BOURN 

5  RD 

19.98720414 

WILBOURN 

5  MA 

14.53405541 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Fickett  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  51.4%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  20  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  that  year. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT 
only  six  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Fickett  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  51.4%  to  9.3%. 


243 


Fourth,  of  the  37  flagged  classrooms  at  Fickett  Elementary  School,  24  (64.8%  of  the 
total)  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  five  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard 
deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  Fickett. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Fickett,  72.3%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
51.4%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

In  addition,  Principal  Dorsey  created  an  environment  that  encouraged  cheating.  He 
informed  teachers  of  the  exact  number  of  students  that  needed  to  meet  expectations  on  the  CRCT 
to  make  APS  targets.  He  was  pressured  by  SRT-1  Executive  Director,  Dr.  Sharon  Davis- 
Williams  to  make  targets,  and  he  in  turn  pressured  his  teachers. 

B.  Narrative 

At  least  two  teachers  cheated  by  prompting  students  to  erase  and  change  their  own 
answers.  The  number  of  classes  flagged  across  all  subject  areas,  and  every  grade  level,  is 
consistent  with  the  pattern  at  schools  system-wide  where  teachers  confessed  to  organized 
cheating  by  erasing. 

Principal  Anthony  Dorsey  pressured  teachers  to  improve  test  scores  and  meet  targets, 
threatening  those  who  did  not  meet  expectations  with  PDPs.  Teachers  were  anxious  about  the 
pressure  to  raise  scores  and  about  the  new,  more  rigorous  evaluation  process  put  in  place.  Those 
who  confessed  to  cheating  felt  it  was  necessary  to  keep  their  jobs. 

Principal  Dorsey  says  he  had  the  only  key  to  the  area  where  the  tests  were  stored.  When 
Testing  Coordinator  Angela  Thomas  needed  access,  Dorsey  unlocked  the  door  for  her.  The  door 
locked  automatically  upon  closing. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Karen  Wilbourn  (Teacher) 
Karen  Wilbourn  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  and  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in 

2009. 

Wilbourn  admitted  that  she  and  her  proctor,  Wanda  Patterson,  gave  students  the  answers 
during  CRCT  testing  in  2009.  She  stated  that  the  proctor  assisted  her  in  making  answer  keys, 
particularly  for  the  math  and  reading  portions  of  the  test.  She  and  Patterson  would  use  the 
answer  keys  to  provide  students  with  correct  answers.  She  stated  that  2009  was  the  only  year  she 
cheated.  Principal  Dorsey  told  teachers  that  they  would  be  put  on  a  PDP  if  they  did  not  have 
enough  students  meeting  and  exceeding  expectations  on  the  CRCT.  She  believes  Principal 
Dorsey  knew  there  was  cheating.  He  made  it  clear  that  they  needed  to  meet  targets. 


244 


2.        Charlene  Martin  (Teacher) 


Charlene  Martin  was  a  second  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  confessed  to  using  voice 
inflection  to  prompt  students  when  reading  the  questions  and  answers  on  the  CRCT.  If  she  saw 
that  a  student  answered  a  question  incorrectly,  she  told  the  student  to  go  back  and  check  it. 
Martin's  motivation  for  cheating  was  the  pressure  she  felt  from  the  administration,  and  because 
she  wanted  to  keep  her  job.  There  was  a  lot  of  pressure  on  teachers  to  have  their  classes  meet 
AYP  and  APS  targets.  Charlene  Martin  was  told  by  students  during  her  first  year  at  Fickett  that 
teachers  had  helped  them  in  the  past  during  testing.  She  wished  she  had  reported  that 
information  to  APS. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Anthony  Dorsey  (Principal) 

We  interviewed  Principal  Anthony  Dorsey  on  three  occasions.  He  was  represented  by 
counsel  each  time.  He  became  principal  of  Fickett  in  2007-2008.  Principal  Dorsey  admitted  that 
he  informed  teachers  how  many  students  needed  to  pass  the  test  in  order  to  meet  their  targets. 
He  was  very  knowledgeable  about  the  data  concerning  targets  and  was  interested  in  raising  the 
math  scores  at  Fickett.  He  was  the  only  one  with  access  to  the  room  where  the  tests  were  kept, 
and  unlocked  the  door  for  the  testing  coordinator,  Angela  Thomas.  He  stated  that  Thomas 
secured  the  door  as  she  left  the  room.  He  did  not  believe  that  cheating  occurred  but  could  not 
explain  the  high  erasures  at  his  school. 

Principal  Dorsey  stated  in  his  first  interview  that  he  did  not  feel  pressure  to  make  targets 
and  did  not  understand  why  APS  and  teachers  felt  that  "making  the  floor"  at  Convocation  was 
important.  He  admitted  that  Davis-Williams  pushed  targets  and  told  him  that  his  job  was  to 
make  targets.  Fickett  has  never  made  targets  under  his  leadership. 

Tn  his  second  interview,  Principal  Dorsey  was  asked  to  clarify  his  contradictory 
statements  concerning  targets.  He  explained  that  he  was  concerned  about  student  achievement 
rather  than  meeting  targets.  In  his  third  interview,  Principal  Dorsey  refused  to  answer  questions 
concerning  why  there  were  such  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  Fickett  in  2009.  Through  his 
counsel,  he  stated  that  he  already  answered  that  question  and  had  nothing  more  to  say. 

2.  Wanda  Patterson  (Teacher) 

Wanda  Patterson  was  a  teacher  at  Fickett  in  2009.  She  taught  small  groups  of  gifted 
children  in  several  subject  areas  in  grades  one  though  five.  Patterson  served  as  a  proctor  during 
CRCT  testing.  She  said  Karen  Wilbourn  would  go  to  particular  students  and  point  to  the  answer. 
This  caused  the  students  to  erase  and  change  the  answers.  Patterson  denied  that  she  also  pointed 
out  answers  to  students. 

3.  Angela  Thomas  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Angela  Thomas  was  the  testing  coordinator  at  Fickett  in  2009.  She  stated  that  Principal 
Dorsey  had  the  key  card  to  the  room  where  the  tests  were  kept  and  access  to  the  school  building 
after  hours  and  on  weekends.   Dessie  Hardwick,  Mary  King  and  Assistant  Principal  Shirley 


245 


Smith  helped  Thomas  administer  the  test.  Thomas  never  erased  anything  on  students'  tests  or 
felt  pressure  to  make  targets.  She  stated  she  was  never  told  that  a  particular  student  must  pass  the 
CRCT. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Charlene  Martin,  Karen  Wilbourn,  and  Wanda  Patterson  cheated  on  the 
2009  CRCT.  Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  the  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with 
similar  statistical  data,  we  believe  that  the  flagged  teachers  at  Fickett  cheated  in  the  same 
manner.  However,  we  lack  sufficient  evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation,  that  Principal  Dorsey  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


246 


HUTCHINSON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


650  Cleveland  Avenue  Principal:  Dr.  Rebecca  Dashiell-Mitchell  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  David  Brown 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Hutchinson  Elementary  in  2009.  Twenty-one  people 
at  this  school  were  interviewed,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Hutchinson  is  evidenced  by  a 
high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  a  confession  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Rebecca 
Dashiell-Mitchell  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

47 

1.6 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

31 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(9) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.1 

3.6 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

26.6 

3.6 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.6 

247 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


T>  1  

1  eacners 

Grade  & 

Ntanaara 

Test 

Deviation 

T7T  T  TQ 

T7T  T  JQ 

1  T  A 

^  /1^/1  1 1/1  HOT 

T7T  T 

1  A  \  A 

S.OOOoZOlO 

£  /1Q1^9/119 

liKrAn  )l  K  r, 

1  T  A 
1  1  ,A 

1  (\  /1/11Q1£1Q 

1  \J  A 

1  1VLA. 

5.UJD  /  jdj  /  J 

T  A  A/TT7C 

T  A  H/fT7Q 
J/AlvllJ/O 

1  T  A 

T  A  1\/TT7^ 

1  1\T  A 

1  i.zzUUuj  Id 

rrll_lJJ_Jx  o 

1  ur» 

1  KU 

&  &  1  0  1  "7Q091 

r  FILL,  J_Jx  o 

1  T  A 

£          1/11  ^"70 

PT-TTT  T  TPQ 

1  MA 

IZ.jjUU  1  j  JO 

1  T  A 

1  0©/1Q'7©<£/1'7 

Z  SSAJ 

o.yj izuiyo 

POT  T  f  "if '  I." 

1  T  A 

5.  /  j<szzuy  / 

POT  T  HPF 

TATA 

"7  IIQ^I  /170/1 

TT?T  TTTT 
1KU11  1 

1  MA 
Z  lVL/\ 

zl  0Q818zlRQ£ 

WTT  T  TC 

Z  KiJ 

/I  1  /1/1/10"7/1<^7 

lVI.fi.  1  illo 

3  RD 

zl  0S0SSS88Q 
4-.UJUJJJ007 

NEAL 

3  RD 

A  QS9401d17 
^t.y jz^tu jfj  / 

STROZIER 

3RD 

8.495768181 

STROZIER 

3  MA 

3.172082989 

PATTERSON 

4  RD 

3.069905974 

PATTERSON 

4  LA 

4.069629285 

PATTERSON 

4  MA 

3.572792509 

SWEDARSKY 

4  RD 

9.255002155 

SWEDARSKY 

4  LA 

7.029930938 

SWEDARSKY 

4  MA 

7.543710616 

NGUYEN 

5  RD 

26.55535419 

NGUYEN 

5  LA 

9.809644757 

NGUYEN 

5  MA 

24.91448727 

IH.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 


There  are  several  facts  that  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Hutchinson  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  47%  for  the  2009  CRCT. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  seven  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Hutchinson  Elementary 
School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
dramatically  from  47%  to  1.6%. 

Fourth,  of  the  31  flagged  classrooms  at  Hutchinson  Elementary  School,  21  (68%  of  the 
total)  had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  five  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard 
deviations.  At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred 
without  adult  intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.    At  ten  standard 


159379.3 


248 


deviations  the  probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad 
scale  at  this  school. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures,  72.1%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms,  which  account  for  only  47%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  one  teacher  confessed  to  giving  his  students  the  answers  while  administering  the 
2009  CRCT.  Teachers  were  surprised  when  low-performing  students  passed  the  test  despite 
their  poor  performance  on  benchmark  tests  and  in  the  classroom. 

B.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.        Hau  Nsuven  (Teacher) 

Hau  Nguyen  admitted  to  cheating  in  2009.  Nguyen  walked  around  the  classroom  during 
the  test  and  stood  over  his  students  while  they  answered  questions.  If  the  student  answered 
incorrectly,  Nguyen  would  point  to  the  right  answer.  He  assisted  students  every  fifth  question  or 
so. 

Yolanda  Udoh  proctored  for  Nguyen's  class  during  the  2009  CRCT.  Nguyen  believes 
Udoh  must  have  noticed  what  he  was  doing.  She  did  not  come  back  after  the  fourth  day  of 
testing  and  he  does  not  know  whether  she  reported  him  for  cheating. 

When  The  Atlanta  Journal-Constitution  published  the  erasure  analysis  done  by  GOSA, 
Principal  Rebecca  Dashiell-Mitchell  gave  teachers  a  questionnaire  that  asked  them  to  explain 
their  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Nguyen  filled  out  the  questionnaire  and  was  then 
called  to  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell' s  office  to  meet  with  her  to  discuss  his  response.  Testing 
Coordinator  David  Brown  was  present  when  Nguyen  and  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  met. 

2.  Marly  Gregoire  (Teacher) 

When  The  Atlanta  Journal-Constitution  published  the  results  of  the  wrong-to-right 
erasure  analysis,  Dashiell-Mitchell  placed  a  one-page  questionnaire  in  each  teacher's  box.  The 
questionnaire  asked  the  flagged  teachers  to  write  any  reasons  why  their  classroom  had  so  many 
wrong-to-right  erasures.  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  then  met  with  each  teacher  to  discuss  the 
erasure  analysis  and  their  explanations. 

Gregoire  was  surprised  that  some  of  her  students  passed  the  CRCT  despite  indications 
that  they  would  not  pass.  She  suspected  that  Nguyen  cheated  because  his  students  achieved  near 
perfect  pass  rates  on  the  test. 

3.  Yolanda  Udoh  (Proctor) 

Yolanda  Udoh  was  the  proctor  of  Hau  Nguyen's  classroom  during  the  2009  CRCT. 
Udoh  denied  observing  Nguyen  assist  students  by  giving  them  answers  to  the  2009  CRCT. 


159379.3 


249 


4.        David  Brown  (Testing  Coordinator) 


David  Brown  gave  the  investigators  the  form  that  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  gave  to  the 
flagged  teachers  requesting  an  explanation  for  the  flags.  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  told  Brown 
that  the  teachers  did  not  write  on  the  forms  and  that  she  did  not  collect  them. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Dr.  Rebecca  Dashiell-Mitchell  (Principal) 

Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  was  interviewed  at  least  two  times  over  the  course  of  this 
investigation.  At  her  first  interview,  Dashiell-Mitchell  denied  conducting  her  own  investigation 
and  denied  distributing  a  questionnaire  regarding  erasures  on  the  2009  CRCT.  When  a  GBI 
agent  showed  her  a  copy  of  the  questionnaire  obtained  from  a  teacher,  Principal  Dashiell- 
Mitchell  remembered  handing  it  out.  She  said  that  she  could  not  provide  a  copy  of  the  answered 
questionnaires  because  the  teachers  did  not  actually  write  answers,  they  just  met  to  discuss  them. 
When  we  interviewed  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  she  remembered  both  that  she  issued 
questionnaires  (she  said  that  she  denied  it  to  the  GBI  because  they  called  it  a  "survey"  and  she 
called  it  an  "audit")  and  that  the  teachers  filled  out  the  answers.  However,  she  was  unable  to 
give  them  to  us  because  she  did  not  keep  them. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  teacher  Hau  Nguyen  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Based  on  the 
statistical  evidence  and  the  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar  statistical  data,  we 
believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  cheated  in  the  same  manner.  However,  we  lack  sufficient 
evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

We  also  find  that  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for 
supervising  testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security 
for,  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  other  evidence  secured  in 
this  investigation  that  Principal  Dashiell-Mitchell  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and 
adequately  supervise  testing  activities.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


159379.3 


250 


CAPITOL  VIEW  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1442  Metropolitan  Parkway  Principal:  Arlene  Snowden  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30310  Testing  Coordinator:  Trennis  Harvey 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Capitol  View  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-seven 
people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Arlene  Snowden  falsified  attendance  records  in  2009 
and  in  other  years,  and  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

70.8 

19.0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

34 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

12(11) 

4(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

11.4 

4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

20.3 

6.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

4.7 

3.2 

251 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

JONES 

1  RD 

7.203792952 

JONES 

1  LA 

6.795730409 

JONES 

1  MA 

13.17567274 

ROBERTSON 

1  RD 

12.6333877 

ROBERTSON 

1  LA 

13.17067211 

ROBERTSON 

1  MA 

13.88294262 

LONGINO 

2  RD 

5.084938216 

LONGINO 

2  LA 

9.127838661 

LONGINO 

2  MA 

9.654566353 

MORELAND 

2  LA 

4.892918323 

GOODMAN 

3  RD 

10.66126736 

GOODMAN 

3  LA 

12.07847995 

GOODMAN 

3  MA 

11.56960919 

JACKSON 

3RD 

9.740819486 

JACKSON 

3  LA 

9.605708465 

JACKSON 

3  MA 

10.38831197 

ROSS 

3  RD 

12.0873275 

ROSS 

3  LA 

15.20524426 

ROSS 

3  MA 

20.34651763 

HUMMINGS 

4  RD 

17.19047309 

HUMMINGS 

4  LA 

11.5437338 

HUMMINGS 

4  MA 

17.15986815 

WRIGHT 

4  RD 

8.291637643 

WRIGHT 

4  LA 

4.705049781 

WRIGHT 

4  MA 

9.624676572 

BENNETT 

5  RD 

13.98962206 

BENNETT 

5  LA 

8.066369977 

BENNETT 

5  MA 

16.87181048 

PIRTLE 

5  RD 

16.51922992 

PIRTLE 

5  LA 

8.213768677 

PIRTLE 

5  MA 

12.10537845 

SMILEY 

5  RD 

14.19492007 

SMILEY 

5  LA 

6.866148885 

SMILEY 

5  MA 

13.87975717 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  significant  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Capitol  View 
Elementary  School  was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately 
reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  70.8%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  six  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  one  school  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  70.8%  to  19%. 

Fourth,  of  the  34  flagged  classrooms  at  Capitol  View,  32  (94%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  20  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.   At  five 


252 


standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations,  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Capitol  View. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Capitol  View,  94%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for 
70.8%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  Principal  Snowden  stated  that  erasures  could  be  explained  by  teaching  strategies. 
Capitol  View  teaches  its  children  to  go  back  and  check  their  work,  and  erase  answers  that  may  be 
incorrect.  Principal  Snowden  provided  no  reason  why  this  method  -  common  throughout  the 
country  -  produced  significantly  more  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  Capitol  View  than  most  schools 
in  Georgia.  When  asked  if  teachers  changed  answers  at  her  command,  Principal  Snowden  stated 
"Did  cheating  happen?  I  don't  know,  I  didn't  do  it,  I  know  that,"  and  that  she  "can't  make 
anyone  do  anything  unless  I  have  a  gun  to  their  heads,  adults  are  going  to  be  adults." 

B.  Narrative 

Capitol  View  had  extremely  high  numbers  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  on  the  2009  CRCT, 
particularly  in  the  first,  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grades.  Multiple  teachers  discussed  students  who 
lacked  the  skills  to  meet  expectations  on  the  2009  CRCT,  but  met  or  exceeded  expectations. 
Multiple  teachers  testified  that  Principal  Snowden  placed  great  pressure  on  them  to  return  high 
scores  on  the  CRCT. 

Corlis  Robertson  provided  an  explanation  for  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures 
in  the  first  grade.  No  explanation  was  provided  for  the  high  erasures  in  the  third,  fourth,  and 
fifth  grades. 

At  least  one  teacher  acknowledged  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal 
Snowden  directed  an  office  worker  to  falsify  attendance  records. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Tiffany  Kelley  (Teacher) 

Tiffany  Kelley  stated  that  teachers  did  not  have  enough  time  during  the  testing  period  to 
change  the  number  of  answers  that  were  changed  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Kelly  believes  that  none 
of  the  flagged  teachers  would  have  assisted  Principal  Snowden  in  changing  CRCT  answer  sheets 
because  of  the  lack  of  a  close  relationship  with  her. 


253 


2.       Marcus  Goodman  (Teacher) 


When  shown  the  2009  CRCT  erasure  data  for  Capitol  View,  Marcus  Goodman  agreed 
that  cheating  must  have  occurred.  Goodman  denied  changing  any  answers,  but  had  no 
explanation  for  the  high  number  of  erasures  on  his  students'  answer  sheets. 

3.  April  Gomez-McMillian  (Teacher) 

April  Gomez-McMillian  did  not  administer  the  2009  CRCT  to  any  students,  but  served  as 
a  hall  monitor.  She  described  the  pressure  placed  on  teachers  by  Principal  Snowden  to  achieve 
high  CRCT  scores.  "Making  the  floor"  was  very  important  to  Principal  Snowden.  Principal 
Snowden  and  Trennis  Harvey  analyzed  the  APS  targets  and  informed  the  teachers  how  many  of 
their  students  could  fail  to  meet  expectations  on  the  CRCT.  When  CRCT  scores  were 
announced,  Principal  Snowden  called  all  teachers  into  a  meeting  and  displayed  the  scores. 
Principal  Snowden  praised  and  applauded  the  teachers  whose  students  met  APS  targets. 

4.  Cor  lis  Robertson  (Teacher) 

Corlis  Robertson  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  testified 
that  she  and  Kimberly  Jones  participated  in  a  pilot  teaching  program  in  2009.  The  assessments 
in  the  teaching  model  all  required  students  to  select  multiple  correct  answers.  She  gave  the 
following  example:  the  test  question  asks  the  student  to  select  all  words  below  that  have  the 
"long  e"  sound  in  them.  Two  or  three  of  the  answer  choices  would  contain  the  "long  e"  sound, 
and  the  students  were  required  to  select  all  correct  answers  to  receive  full  credit  for  the  question. 
Robertson  explained  that  although  the  2009  CRCT  required  students  to  select  only  one  correct 
answer,  the  first  grade  students  were  confused  and  often  selected  more  than  one  answer.  She  had 
to  repeatedly  instruct  students  to  select  only  the  best  answer,  and  to  erase  all  incorrect  answers. 
Only  the  first  grade  teachers  participated  in  this  program  in  2009. 

5.  Michael  Ross  (Teacher) 

Michael  Ross  stated  that  the  APS  target  system  is  unfair  to  children.  He  attempted  to  get 
extra  help  for  students  who  struggled,  but  not  qualify  for  extra  assistance  because  their  CRCT 
scores  were  too  high. 

APS  referred  Ross  to  the  Georgia  Professional  Standards  Commission  for  having  a  high 
"Caveon  Index."  The  first  time  he  received  notification  that  he  was  under  suspicion  for  cheating 
was  when  he  received  notice  from  the  PSC.  Ross  was  never  interviewed  by  the  Blue  Ribbon 
Commission  or  anyone  from  APS.  He  stated  that  he  never  cheated,  was  never  asked  to  cheat, 
and  had  no  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

Ross  stated  that  he  saw  a  large  decrease  in  Capitol  View  students  exceeding  expectations 
on  the  2010  CRCT  as  opposed  to  the  2009  CRCT. 


254 


D. 


Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


1. 


Trennis  Harvey  (Testing  Coordinator) 


Trennis  Harvey  stated  that  during  the  2009  CRCT  testing  window,  Principal  Snowden 
only  worked  until  lunch  due  to  health  issues.  Harvey  stated  that  he  had  a  spare  key  to 
Snowden' s  office,  and  only  he  and  Snowden  possessed  keys.  Snowden  left  the  building  as  soon 
as  the  tests  were  returned  to  her  office,  and  locked  her  office  before  she  left.  Snowden  always 
instructed  Harvey  that  "she  wanted  to  be  the  one  to  open  her  office  and  the  one  to  be  the  last  one 
to  lock  it  to  make  sure  everything  was  secured." 

Trennis  Harvey  stated  that  if  adults  changed  CRCT  answers,  he  had  no  knowledge  of  it, 
and  denied  any  unethical  behavior  on  his  part.  When  asked  if  Principal  Snowden  may  have 
changed  answers,  Harvey  replied  "Well,  I  can  only  say  100%  for  myself.  But  what  I  will  say  is 
that  she  never  gave  me  any  inkling  that  it  was  occurring,  or  that  it  could  be  occurring."  He  did 
not  believe  Principal  Snowden  changed  CRCT  answer  sheets. 


Principal  Snowden  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  or  any  other 
year.  Capitol  View  never  had  a  testing  irregularity  under  her  tenure.  She  now  works  at  the  APS 
central  office,  having  been  transferred  after  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  Report.  She  believes 
that  this  investigation  and  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  were  politically  motivated,  and  that  her 
transfer  from  Capitol  View  by  APS  was  politically  motivated  as  well.  She  believes  she  was 
targeted  as  a  scapegoat  by  APS.  She  also  stated  that  she  does  not  "buy  in  to  the  whole  erasure 
bit,"  meaning  that  she  does  not  believe  the  erasure  analysis  to  be  indicative  of  cheating. 

Principal  Snowden  stated  that  erasures  could  be  explained  by  teaching  strategies.  Capitol 
View  teaches  its  children  to  go  back  and  check  their  work  and  erase  answers  that  may  be 
incorrect.  Snowden  provided  no  reason  why  this  method  -  common  throughout  the  country  - 
produced  significantly  more  wrong-to-right  erasures  at  Capitol  View  than  most  schools  in 
Georgia.  When  asked  if  teachers  changed  answers  at  her  command,  Snowden  stated,  "Did 
cheating  happen?  I  don't  know,  I  didn't  do  it,  I  know  that."  She  further  stated  that  she  "can't 
make  anyone  do  anything  unless  I  have  a  gun  to  their  heads,  adults  are  going  to  be  adults." 

Snowden  acknowledged  that  only  she  and  Trennis  Harvey  had  keys  to  access  the  CRCT 
materials  in  2009. 

E.        Other  Evidence 


Michelle  Redwine  testified  that  Principal  Snowden  falsified  attendance  records.  Redwine 
worked  in  the  front  office  and  was  responsible  for  creating  folders  for  teachers  that  recorded 
attendance  and  tardy  records.  She  described  one  instance  when  such  a  folder  was  given  to  her  by 
Snowden  empty  of  records.  Snowden  instructed  Redwine  to  recreate  the  records.  Redwine 
understood  that  fewer  absences  should  be  shown.  Unknown  to  Snowden,  the  teacher  in  question 
kept  a  second  set  of  records  allowing  Redwine  to  accurately  recreate  the  records.  Redwine  stated 


2. 


Arlene  Snowden  (Principal) 


1. 


Michelle  Redwine  (Paraprofessional) 


255 


the  accurately  recreated  records  were  also  subsequently  lost,  and  that  multiple  teachers  voiced 
complaints  of  similar  issues  with  attendance  records. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Arlene  Snowden  falsified  attendance  records. 

It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation  that  Principal  Snowden  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


256 


TOWNS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 

760  Bolton  Road  Principal:  Carla  Pettis  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30331  Testing  Coordinator:  Dr.  Dorothy  Keen 


I.  INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Towns  Elementary  School  in  2009.  Forty-two  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  is  evidenced  at  Towns  by  high 
numbers  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Carla  Pettis  falsified  attendance  records  at  this  school 
and  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.  STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

63.6 

12.1 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

42 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

16(14) 

5(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.6 

4.0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

16.1 

5.1 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.7 

3.0 

257 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

DYKES 

1  RD 

11.16874145 

DYKES 

1  LA 

7.566044607 

DYKES 

1  MA 

5.005126128 

FOSTER 

2  RD 

5.675632634 

FOSTER 

2  LA 

6.189106522 

FOSTER 

2  MA 

5.6588774 

NERO 

2  MA 

3.827116987 

WADDEL 

2  RD 

4.639239175 

WADDEL 

2  LA 

8.780351531 

WADDEL 

2  MA 

8.470834727 

CORBETT 

3  RD 

5.313970403 

CORBETT 

3  LA 

6.839071744 

CORBETT 

3  MA 

11.76788515 

FARMER 

3RD 

8.495768181 

FARMER 

3  LA 

4.072435023 

FARMER 

3  MA 

7.523044579 

NASH 

3  RD 

6.997372147 

NASH 

3  LA 

4.611869244 

NASH 

3  MA 

9.66038967 

TROEORT 

3  RD 

6.639906071 

TROFORT 

3  MA 

4.094854428 

GILBERT 

4  MA 

5.744326994 

GREEN 

4  RD 

3.73568251 

GREEN 

4  MA 

10.50930578 

WEAKS 

4  RD 

12.36810578 

WEAKS 

4  LA 

7.193411565 

WEAKS 

4  MA 

3.929096979 

WOOTEN 

4  RD 

11.51578308 

WOOTEN 

4  LA 

15.10221601 

WOOTEN 

4  MA 

16.14723092 

BURSON 

5  RD 

12.70347511 

BURSON 

5  LA 

10.30020245 

BURSON 

5  MA 

13.86202075 

MORRISON 

5  RD 

11.76340829 

MORRISON 

5  LA 

11.83901344 

MORRISON 

5  MA 

9.848021516 

STEWARD 

5  RD 

10.16101793 

STEWARD 

5  LA 

5.754511104 

STEWARD 

5  MA 

15.94607529 

THOMAS 

5  RD 

12.70347511 

THOMAS 

5  LA 

7.528097453 

THOMAS 

5  MA 

10.98091468 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Towns  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  63.6%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  12  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  two  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Towns  Elementary  School. 


258 


Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  63.6%  to  12.1%. 

Fourth,  of  the  42  flagged  classrooms  at  Towns  Elementary  School,  35  (83%  of  the  total) 
had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  16  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Towns  Elementary  School. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Towns,  89.1%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
63.6%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Last,  the  statements  of  Principal  Carla  Pettis  are  in  direct  conflict  with  other  witnesses. 
Principal  Pettis  claimed  she  left  the  school  at  3:30  p.m.  during  CRCT  testing,  and  that  she  left 
with  Testing  Coordinator  Dorothy  Keen.  But  Keen  stated  that  she  always  stayed  late  during 
testing.  A  staff  member  corroborated  Keen's  testimony.  Principal  Pettis  also  denied  hiring  her 
mother  and  aunt  to  help  proctor  the  CRCT.  Keen  saw  both  the  mother  and  aunt  at  the  school 
during  the  CRCT.  Compounding  the  conflict,  Principal  Pettis  refused  to  answer  questions  under 
oath. 

B.        Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.       Michelle  Tor  rev  (Office  Paraprofessional) 

In  2009,  Michelle  Torrey  was  a  paraprofessional  working  in  the  front  office  where 
Principal  Pettis'  office  was  also  located.  Torrey' s  desk  was  next  to  the  conference  room  off  of 
Principal  Pettis'  office  where  the  tests  were  primarily  kept  during  the  2009  CRCT. 

At  the  end  of  the  testing  period  each  day,  teachers  took  the  tests  to  the  media  center 
where  they  checked  them  in  with  Testing  Coordinator  Dr.  Dorothy  Keen.  Keen  then  wheeled  the 
tests  on  a  cart  to  the  conference  room  off  of  Principal  Pettis'  office  and  next  to  Torrey' s  desk. 
Keen  was  generally  with  the  tests  in  the  conference  room  throughout  the  afternoon.  On  a  few 
occasions  Principal  Pettis  was  there  as  well.  Around  4:30  or  5:00  p.m.,  the  tests  were  taken  to 
yet  another  room  where  they  were  "secured."  According  to  Torrey,  they  were  taken  to  a  room 
"off  of  the  back  hall."  Sometimes  when  Torrey  left  for  the  day  around  5:00  p.m.  the  tests  were 
still  in  the  conference  room. 

Torrey  saw  people  erasing  things  on  the  answer  sheets,  but  she  assumed  they  were 
correcting  names  and  student  identification  numbers.  Keen  did  not  let  the  teachers  put  student 
identification  numbers  on  the  answer  sheets,  but  insisted  on  doing  it  herself. 

The  room  where  the  tests  were  kept  was  locked  but  Principal  Pettis,  Keen,  the  secretary 
Ms.  Thomas,  and  the  night  custodian  all  had  keys. 


259 


Principal  Pettis  hired  retired  teachers  to  assist  with  various  events,  like  field  day  and  the 
CRCT.  Two  of  those  teachers  were  Principal  Pettis'  mother  and  aunt.  In  2009,  they  proctored 
during  the  CRCT. 

Torrey  kept  the  attendance  and  discipline  records  at  Towns.  Beginning  in  2004,  Principal 
Pettis  instructed  Torrey  to  delete  and  falsify  attendance  records  to  a  level  that  was  within  the 
target  numbers  for  AYP.  Teachers  entered  the  attendance  for  their  class  each  day.  At  the  end  of 
the  year,  Pettis  asked  Torrey  what  the  numbers  were  for  the  school.  If  the  numbers  were  high, 
Torrey  asked  teachers  if  they  had  tardy  slips  they  had  "missed."  Some  of  the  veteran  teachers 
knew  what  this  question  meant  and  produced  false  tardy  slips.  If  the  tardy  slips  were  not  enough 
to  get  the  attendance  numbers  within  the  target,  Principal  Pettis  directed  Torrey  to  alter  the 
absences  in  the  computer  system. 

Torrey  believes  there  was  cheating  at  Towns  on  the  CRCT  but  that  it  is  more  likely  the 
administrators  and  not  the  teachers  who  cheated. 

2.        Chenee  Gilbert  (Teacher) 

Chenee  Gilbert  no  longer  teaches  in  APS.  She  left  the  system  in  part  because  of  the 
pressure  placed  on  test  scores.  Principal  Pettis  placed  Gilbert  on  a  PDP  for  test  scores  in  2005  or 
2006.  She  knows  of  other  teachers  who  were  placed  on  PDPs  for  test  scores. 

C.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

/.        Carla  Pettis  (Principal) 

Principal  Pettis  denied  cheating;  however,  she  refused  to  give  testimony  under  oath.  Her 
explanation  for  the  abnormal  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  is  that  students  are  taught  the 
process  of  elimination. 

Principal  Pettis  denied  that  her  mother  and  aunt  helped  during  the  2009  CRCT  testing 
week.  She  believes  they  did  assist  during  the  2008  CRCT. 

Principal  Pettis  said  that  she  left  the  school  around  3:30  in  the  afternoon  during  CRCT 
testing.  She  and  Dorothy  Keen  left  together. 

We  asked  Principal  Pettis  why  she  believed  the  Governor  asked  us  to  investigate  APS. 
She  responded  that  she  thinks  the  investigation  is  racially  motivated:  "I  think  that  the  city  of 
Atlanta,  that  they  [white  people]  want  the  city  of  Atlanta  back,  and  in  order  to  get  it  back,  [they] 
have  to  destroy  the  schools  first." 

2.        Dr.  Dorothy  Keen  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Dorothy  Keen  was  the  testing  coordinator  in  2009,  and  she  denied  cheating. 

Each  answer  sheet  required  a  student  identification  number.  The  student  identification 
number  is  six  digits.  According  to  Keen,  it  takes  approximately  one  second  per  sheet  to  fill  in 
this  number.  If  a  student  was  new  to  the  school  their  number  needed  to  be  filled  in.  Keen,  with 


260 


assistance  from  the  retired  teachers  and  sometimes  Principal  Pettis,  would  check  the  tests  to 
make  sure  all  student  identification  numbers  were  present.  If  a  student  identification  number 
was  missing,  Keen  or  one  of  her  helpers  would  add  the  student  identification  number.  There 
were  only  about  five  students  whose  student  identification  numbers  were  not  already  on  the  tests. 

According  to  Dr.  Keen,  tests  were  secured  in  Principal  Pettis'  office  each  evening.  The 
tests  were  only  in  the  conference  room  for  a  short  period  of  time  and  then  were  moved  into 
Principal  Pettis'  office,  which  was  then  locked.  Keen  stayed  at  the  school  until  around  5:00  or 
6:00  p.m. 

Principal  Pettis'  mother  Charlotte  Everett  and  her  aunt  Mary  Sherman  are  retired  teachers 
and  helped  proctor  during  the  2009  CRCT.  Retired  teachers  helped  to  enter  student 
identification  numbers  in  2009. 

Keen  stayed  "late"  in  the  evenings  during  testing. 

D.       Other  Evidence 

Kelli  Augburn- Johnson,  Dorothy  Butler,  and  Gentrie  Weaks  testified  that  the  teachers  are 
intimidated  and  are  not  likely  to  tell  investigators  if  cheating  occurred  at  Towns. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  have  concerns  about  the  conflicting  testimony  of  Michelle  Torrey,  Dorothy  Keen, 
and  Carla  Pettis  regarding  the  entering  of  student  identification  numbers  and  how  late  the  testing 
coordinator  and  principal  were  at  the  school  in  the  afternoons.  However,  the  evidence  is  not 
sufficient  to  conclude  that  Dorothy  Keen  or  Principal  Carla  Pettis  cheated. 

It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation  that  Principal  Carla  Pettis  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and 
adequately  supervise  the  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 

We  also  find  that  Principal  Carla  Pettis  directed  Michelle  Torrey  to  falsify  attendance 
records. 


261 


BLALOCK  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


CLOSED  Principal:  Frances  Thompson  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Testing  Coordinators:  Charla  Cheatham 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Blalock  Elementary  in  2009.  APS  closed  Blalock  at 
the  end  of  the  2008-2009  school  year.  However,  Blalock  Elementary  was  the  primary  feeder 
school  into  Harper-Archer  Middle  and  former  Blalock  Principal  Frances  Thompson  is  now  the 
principal  of  Harper-Archer  Middle.  The  testimony  discussed  below  came  from  interviews 
conducted  at  that  school.  Cheating  at  Blalock  is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged 
classrooms  and  witness  testimony.  Principal  Frances  Thompson  failed  to  properly  monitor  the 
2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2(11(1 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

66.7 

N/A 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

26 

N/A 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

11 

N/A 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

15.1 

N/A 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

38.2 

N/A 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.9 

N/A 

262 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

HUNT 

1  MA 

4.50425563 

GACHETT 

1  RD 

3.863706346 

GACHETT 

1  LA 

8.485545057 

GACHETT 

1  MA 

9.153922316 

MOMPOINT 

2  RD 

4.266953431 

OKEKE 

2  LA 

3.855958923 

HUNTER 

3RD 

25.35470283 

HUNTER 

3  LA 

21.63926106 

HUNTER 

3  MA 

23.79024 

THURMOND 

3  RD 

11.77386079 

THURMOND 

3  LA 

10.33781373 

THURMOND 

3  MA 

12.06332534 

MAR  HALL 

3  RD 

14.94355801 

MAR  HALL 

3  LA 

11.31142492 

MAR  HALL 

3  MA 

11.94334015 

GRAVES 

4  RD 

8.493858299 

GRAVES 

4  LA 

7.93008065 

FLOOD 

4  RD 

19.58507323 

FLOOD 

4  LA 

17.52580503 

FLOOD 

4  MA 

13.20184625 

JEFFERSON 

5  RD 

21.85147016 

JEFFERSON 

5  LA 

19.1172379 

JEFFERSON 

5  MA 

38.22817627 

BOYD 

5  RD 

16.47685954 

BOYD 

5  LA 

21.33040312 

BOYD 

5  MA 

30.97232589 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Blalock  was  not  managed  to 
ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  66.7%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  eleven  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  two  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Blalock. 

Third,  of  the  26  flagged  classrooms  at  Blalock,  22  (85%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  17  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Blalock. 

Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Blalock,  94.4%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
66.7%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 


263 


Finally,  current  Harper-Archer  principal  Frances  Thompson  was  the  principal  at  Blalock 
in  2009.  A  number  of  teachers  at  Harper-Archer  believed  there  was  cheating  at  Blalock.  A 
teacher  also  told  us  that  students  from  Blalock  seemed  to  have  learned  that  cheating  was 
acceptable  and  often  cheated  at  Harper-Archer.  There  have  been  conversations  among  teachers 
at  Harper-Archer  that  Frances  Thompson  was  brought  to  Harper-Archer  by  Tamara  Cotman 
because  she  cheated  at  Blalock  and  Cotman  wanted  her  to  cheat  at  Harper-Archer  to  get  test 
scores  up. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.        Kelli  Koen  (Teacher) 

Kelli  Koen  testified  that  students  in  her  classes  that  had  previously  attended  Blalock 
talked  about  their  teachers  at  Blalock  giving  them  answers  on  the  CRCT.  Koen  often  talked  with 
other  Harper-Archer  teachers  about  how  many  of  their  students  had  inflated  test  scores  from 
elementary  school. 

2.  Malika  Syphertt  (Teacher) 

Malika  Syphertt  believes  that  there  was  cheating  at  Blalock.  The  students  in  her 
classroom  who  went  to  Blalock  for  elementary  school  are  accustomed  to  cheating  and  attempt  to 
cheat  "regularly."  She  has  taught  sixth  grade  students  who  cannot  multiply — a  skill  they  should 
have  learned  in  elementary  school. 

Syphertt  heard  that  former  Harper- Archer  principal  Michael  Mil  stead  was  asked  to  leave 
because  Harper-Archer  had  not  met  AYP  in  two  years  and  SRT-4  Director  Cotman  wanted  a 
new  principal  who  would  get  test  scores  up. 

3.  Jerry  Willard  (Teacher) 

Jerry  Willard  testified  that  he  has  taught  students  that  came  from  Blalock  Elementary  and 
he  felt  they  were  very  far  behind  academically. 

C.  Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 
/.        Frances  Thompson  (Principal) 

Principal  Thompson  denied  that  there  was  cheating  at  Blalock  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

The  evidence  suggests  someone  at  Blalock  cheated.  However,  we  lack  sufficient 
evidence  to  determine  who  specifically  engaged  in  cheating. 

We  conclude  that  Principal  Frances  Thompson  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for 
testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2009 
CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  other  evidence  secured  in  this 
investigation  that  Principal  Frances  Thompson  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and 


264 


adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible 
for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the 
Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


265 


WHITEFOORD  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


35  Whitefoord  Avenue,  SE  Principal:  Patricia  Lavant  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  30317  Testing  Coordinator:  Shaun  German-Tucker 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Whitefoord  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-two  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Whitefoord  is  evidenced  by  a 
high  number  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Patricia  Lavant  failed  to  properly  monitor  the 
2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

59.3 

13.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

32 

6 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(9) 

5(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.0 

4.5 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

12.9 

6.0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.5 

3.1 

266 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

ALLX  AN  DLR 

1  MA 

C  O  s~  A  O  s~  C\  A  A  O 

5.264860448 

K1C  rl           O  JN 

1  MA 

3.yo  /454252 

/  >  A  MTTT  Ti   f  A  TAT 

CAIN  1  bK  L-A1JN 

2  MA 

3.540054612 

TJ <"\C  A  T  T7C 

KOSAbbS 

2  RD 

y.4/50661U6 

KOSAbbS 

2  LA 

A  /Cfl  1  007/I  A  £ 

4.60188/446 

TJ  AC  A  T  T7P 

KOSAbbS 

2  MA 

/. 368520452 

B<J  Y  AJN  1 <JJN 

3  RD 

j.  /y 18564U5 

JJOY  AJN  lOJN 

3  LA 

d  r\r\ tac /i coo 
4.  003054588 

BOY  AJN  lOJN 

3  MA 

n  /H/ioo7ifin 

y. 45488  /zuy 

fir  ADT  T7C 

3  RD 

5.2560  /163  1 

rtTT  A  TJ  T  T7  C 

CHARbbS 

3  LA 

5.464209762 

pu  ADT  T7C 

CbtAKbbS 

3  MA 

5. y6 13453  /  / 

it  7TT  C/~WT 

Wlb&CJJN 

3  RD 

J. 85 14000  /  J 

TTT7T3  DT7DT 

HbKBbK 1 

4  RD 

4.4y46o0016 

urn  t_>T_  TJ  T* 

HbKBbK  1 

4  LA 

4.6604052  /2 

TTT7F1  Df  T)T 

HbKBbK  1 

4  MA 

4.0  / 1482246 

T("\  "VMTTTJ  TZ"\TT/~,T-JT' 

JUY  JNbK  KJNlLrHl 

4  RD 

10.5 14  /558J 

T/"\"\7"M"T7  TJ  T^"\TT/~,TTrT' 

JOYNbR  KNICjHI 

4  LA 

4. 835073703 

T("\\/"\TT7TJ  TZATT/_,TJT" 

.K )Y  Nr,K  RINICtH  1 

4  MA 

o.0yyz55533 

C  TA  TTJO(T\T 

MJVlr^UJN 

4  RD 

y.  /y55z55z6 

C  TA  f  TJO  AM 
S  1JV11  SUJN 

4  LA 

O  1  n  /T\  A  1  "7  o  o 

8.  iy6y4i /88 

Q  TA  /f  T>Q  CYVT 

A  AT  A 

J.  / 13jy33 13 

WASHINGTON 

4  MA 

3.832842202 

BRADLEY  JAMES 

5  RD 

11.87061022 

BRADLEY  JAMES 

5  LA 

11.03151915 

BRADLEY  JAMES 

5  MA 

11.80964867 

BYRD 

5  RD 

12.98517898 

BYRD 

5  LA 

8.032027764 

BYRD 

5  MA 

9.53207868 

COLLIER 

5  RD 

12.41750665 

COLLIER 

5  LA 

4.905974642 

COLLIER 

5  MA 

5.10644017 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  a  conclusion  that  Whitefoord  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  59.3%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  14  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  two  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Whitefoord  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  59.3%  to  13.3%. 

Fourth,  of  the  32  flagged  classrooms  at  Whitefoord  Elementary,  21  (66%  of  the  total)  had 
standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At 
five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.   This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 


267 


mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Whitefoord  Elementary  School. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Whitefoord,  86%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
59.4%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school 

Principal  Patricia  Lavant  was  the  principal  at  Whitefoord  Elementary  School  for  the 
entire  WA  years  she  was  employed  by  APS.  She  remained  past  her  eligible  retirement  time 
because  the  erasure  scandal  was  "her  mess  to  fix"  and  happened  under  her  watch.  She  remained 
to  do  what  she  could  for  the  teachers  and  the  school.  She  said  there  was  lots  of  pressure  to 
improve  on  students'  scores  but  not  enough  to  do  something  immoral.  We  believe  her,  but 
conclude  she  failed  in  her  managerial  role.  We  commend  her  acceptance  of  responsibility  for  the 
situation  we  found  at  her  school  and  find  her  acceptance  of  responsibility  to  be  rare  in  APS. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

From  all  of  the  above,  we  believe  that  there  is  no  other  rational  conclusion  but  that  there 
was  widespread  cheating  at  Whitefoord  Elementary  School  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  that  the 
principal  should  certainly  have  known  of  this  misconduct. 

Principal  Patricia  Lavant  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that  Ms. 
Lavant  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and 
test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or 
erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


268 


BOYD  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1 89 1  Johnson  Rd.  NW  Principal:  Emalyn  Foreman  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30318  Testing  Coordinator:  Lovie  Alridge 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Boyd  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-six  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Boyd  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Emalyn  Foreman  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

56.1 

15.7 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

32 

8 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

13(11) 

6(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.5 

4.1 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

23.3 

6.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.3 

3.2 

269 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teachers 

Grades  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

JONES,  D. 

1  RD 

3.392897049 

JONES,  D. 

1  LA 

3.614377155 

JONES,  D. 

1  MA 

4.72146137 

NASH 

1  LA 

3.768145723 

NASH 

1  MA 

15.49960551 

DREW 

1  LA 

5.946929996 

DREW 

1  MA 

4.413271695 

HOLLIS 

1  RD 

11.00600298 

HOLLIS 

1  LA 

13.04612483 

HOLLIS 

1  MA 

14.47479705 

BISHOP 

2  RD 

19.64372563 

BISHOP 

2  LA 

22.68786194 

BISHOP 

2  MA 

23.30240378 

NELSON 

2  RD 

9.902731254 

NELSON 

2  LA 

4.401081116 

NELSON 

2  MA 

6.631521845 

BENTON 

2  RD 

10.8615193 

BENTON 

2  LA 

7.17956838 

BENTON 

2  MA 

6.574156055 

CLARK 

2  RD 

5.260713844 

CLARK 

2  LA 

3.784059819 

MCCORMICK 

3RD 

12.16623541 

MCCORMICK 

3  LA 

8.913555206 

MCCORMICK 

3  MA 

8.686863626 

MOMON 

3  RD 

4.250014593 

MOMON 

3  LA 

8.233257646 

MOMON 

3  MA 

3.27411782 

EVERETT 

4RD 

7.459472938 

SAMUELS 

5  LA 

3.925887521 

ARCHIBALD 

5  RD 

3.393715479 

ARCHIBALD 

5  LA 

5.763550874 

ARCHIBALD 

5  MA 

4.416404002 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Boyd  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  56.1%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  from  56. 1%  to  15.7%. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  three  schools  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Boyd. 

Third,  of  the  32  flagged  classrooms  at  Boyd,  20  (62.5%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  nine  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  State 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  Boyd. 


270 


Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Boyd,  86.1%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  56.1% 
of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

B.  Narrative 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  teachers  or  administrators  erasing  and  changing 
student  answers.  Boyd  Elementary  has  an  open  concept  design  in  which  classrooms  have  no 
doors.  The  tests  were  locked  in  a  cabinet  in  the  media  center.  Principal  Foreman  had  the  only 
key  to  the  cabinet;  the  media  specialist  and  Principal  Foreman  had  the  only  keys  to  the  media 
center.  Although  no  witness  testified  to  seeing  anyone  changing  answers,  the  weight  of  the 
evidence  indicates  that  cheating  occurred  at  this  school. 

C.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Ephigenia  Paulk  (Teacher) 

Ephigenia  Paulk  was  a  Spanish  teacher  at  Boyd  in  2009.  Paulk  claimed  she  had  not 
witnessed  cheating  but  believed  cheating  has  occurred  since  the  1990s  based  on  her  observations 
of  students'  inability  to  read.  She  stated  that  Principal  Foreman  did  not  like  teachers  to  report 
disciplinary  issues  because  she  expected  teachers  to  resolve  it  on  their  own.  Principal  Foreman 
told  her  to  change  an  F  to  a  passing  grade  on  more  than  one  occasion.  Principal  Foreman  has  an 
inner  circle  including  Tiffany  Mom  on,  Rhonda  Nelson,  Tiffany  Hollis,  and  Mignon  Hardemon. 

2.  Shanay  Benton  (Teacher) 

Shanay  Benton  denied  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT.  On  a  couple  of  occasions 
while  passing  out  her  test  booklets  she  noticed  a  few  of  them  were  out  of  order.  Benton  also 
indicated  that  Principal  Foreman  and  Testing  Coordinator  Lovie  Alridge  pressured  teachers  to 
improve  test  scores,  meet  targets  and  "make  the  floor."  Benton  believed  that  some  targets  were 
unattainable. 

3.  Lovie  Alridge  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Lovie  Alridge  was  the  Testing  Coordinator  in  2009.  She  did  not  erase  answers  or  return 
to  the  school  after  hours.  She  did  not  believe  that  any  teachers  erased  answers  but  thought  that 
the  erasures  were  caused  by  students  changing  answers. 

4.  Shanelle  Clark  (Teacher) 

Shanelle  Clark  stated  that  she  was  not  surprised  by  her  students'  scores.  Lovie  Alridge 
appeared  to  be  very  strict  about  testing  protocol.  Clark  stated  that  Principal  Foreman  asked  her 
to  change  an  F  to  a  passing  grade  because  Clark  had  not  followed  proper  procedures  before 
giving  the  F.  She  resigned  because  she  felt  Principal  Foreman  made  false  reports  against  her 
when  she  was  eligible  for  tenure.  Principal  Foreman  had  a  close  relationship  with  Alridge, 
Mignon  Hardemon,  Amzie  Samuels  and  Tiffany  Momon. 


271 


5.        Chalita  Bishop  (Teacher) 


Chalita  Bishop  claimed  it  was  impossible  for  a  teacher  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT.  The 
testing  coordinator  had  strict  protocols.  Bishop  thought  it  was  strange  that  particular  students 
passed  the  test,  but  was  sure  that  cheating  had  not  occurred  in  her  classroom. 

6.  Mignon  Har demon  (Counselor) 

Mignon  Hardemon  was  the  counselor  in  2009  and  assisted  Alridge  with  the  tests.  She 
recorded  her  interviews  with  us  on  her  cellular  phone.  Hardemon  had  no  explanation  for  the 
high  wrong-to-right  erasures. 

7.  Emalyn  Foreman  (Principal) 

Emalyn  Foreman  was  the  principal  of  Boyd  in  2009.  She  became  principal  in  the  2008- 
2009  school  year.  She  denied  any  cheating  or  knowledge  of  cheating.  Foreman's  explanation 
for  the  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  was  that  students  were  taught  to  go  back  over  their  tests. 
She  was  not  surprised  by  the  students'  high  scores  but  could  offer  no  explanation  for  the  drop  in 
scores  in  2010.  Principal  Foreman  denied  she  felt  pressure  to  meet  targets.  She  stated  that  Boyd 
did  not  meet  its  targets  but  had  met  AYP. 

Regarding  allegations  that  she  had  told  teachers  to  change  an  F  to  a  passing  grade, 
Principal  Foreman  explained  that  there  was  a  process  that  had  to  be  followed  before  a  student 
could  receive  an  F.  Parents  had  to  be  notified  and  made  part  of  the  process  and  documentation 
had  to  be  produced  to  justify  the  grade. 

Principal  Foreman  claimed  that  she  had  the  only  key  to  the  cabinet  in  the  media  center 
where  the  tests  were  stored.  She  also  had  a  key  to  the  media  center.  Both  keys  were  on  a  chain 
and  locked  in  her  desk.  Only  the  testing  coordinator  had  access  to  the  tests  during  the  testing 
window. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  believe  there  is  no  other  conclusion  but  that  there  was  widespread  cheating  at  Boyd 
Elementary  School  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  that  the  principal  should  have  known  of  this. 

Principal  Foreman  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation,  that 
Principal  Foreman  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing 
activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


272 


WEST  MANOR  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


570  Lynhurst  Drive,  SW  Principal:  Cheryl  Twyman  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  303 11  Testing  Coordinator:  Tiffany  Harvey 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  West  Manor  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty-two  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  West  Manor  is  evidenced  by 
a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Cheryl  Twyman  failed  to  properly  monitor  the 
2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

54.9 

28.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

28 

13 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

13(9) 

8(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

7.9 

6.1 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

18.5 

19.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.3 

3.2 

273 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

ANDERSON 

1  MA 

3.908283396 

DALLAS 

1  MA 

5.616478234 

WHITAKER  GRAHAM 

1  RD 

5.715533773 

WHITAKER  GRAHAM 

1  LA 

4.742821759 

WHITAKER  GRAHAM 

1  MA 

8.416864645 

PAGE 

2  LA 

5.034765376 

PAGE 

2  MA 

3.338647544 

WILDER 

2  LA 

4.50232861 

CARTER 

3  RD 

7.673099015 

CARTER 

3  LA 

5.322826534 

CARTER 

3  MA 

12.82614325 

LAWRENCE 

3  RD 

9.140511243 

LAWRENCE 

3  LA 

4.733632175 

LAWRENCE 

3  MA 

14.38694627 

LEWIS  GAMBLE 

3  RD 

13.82862802 

LEWIS  GAMBLE 

3  LA 

8.995334767 

LEWIS  GAMBLE 

3  MA 

18.49699548 

TURNER 

3  RD 

11.59467722 

TURNER 

3  LA 

6.2593922 

BULLARD 

4  RD 

5.623989755 

JASPER 

4  RD 

6.343220061 

JASPER 

4  MA 

7.931151075 

BLOXSON 

5  RD 

5.927166066 

BLOXSON 

5  LA 

4.351273098 

BLOXSON 

5  MA 

9.752388171 

FERGUSON 

5  RD 

6.827040213 

FERGUSON 

5  LA 

6.941173209 

FERGUSON 

5  MA 

12.42261959 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  a  conclusion  that  West  Manor  Elementary  School 
was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  54.9%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  17  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  four  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  West  Manor. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
from  54.9%  to  28.9%. 

Fourth,  of  the  28  flagged  classrooms  at  West  Manor,  22  (78%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  West 
Manor. 


274 


Fifth,  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  82%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  54.9%  of  the 
total  classrooms  in  the  school 

Last,  Principal  Twyman  had  no  explanation  for  the  high  standard  deviations  on  the  2009 
CRCT  at  West  Manor,  and  was  barely  cooperative. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  believe  that  there  is  no  other  rational  conclusion  but  that  there  was  widespread 
cheating  at  West  Manor  Elementary  School  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  that  the  principal  should 
have  known  of  this  misconduct. 

Principal  Cheryl  Twyman  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that 
Principal  Cheryl  Twyman  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT  and  adequately  supervise 
testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for,  falsifying, 
misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


275 


TURNER  MIDDLE  SCHOOL 


CLOSED  Principal:  Karen  Riggins-Taylor  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Testing  Coordinators:  Melanie  Robinson  &  Keala  Edwards-Cooper 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Turner  Middle  in  2009.  Two  people  were  interviewed 
at  this  school.  Cheating  is  evidenced  at  Turner  Middle  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms. 
Principal  Karen  Riggins-Taylor  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

54 

9.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

34 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

18(13) 

3(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.4 

3.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

26 

3.7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.0 

276 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

BROWN 

6  RD 

10.51882653 

BROWN 

6  MA 

16.23933127 

CULPEPPER 

6  RD 

8.670894583 

CULPEPPER 

6  MA 

25.97920266 

DAVIS 

6  RD 

8.20082255 

DAVIS 

6  LA 

4.467418713 

DAVIS 

6  MA 

25.14705933 

WORD 

6  RD 

5.598186093 

WORD 

6  MA 

7.801212402 

JONES,  B. 

7  RD 

3.569289253 

BALL  RIVNER 

7  RD 

3.371698651 

BALL  RIVNER 

7  LA 

4.784116263 

BALL  RIVNER 

7  MA 

8.320695667 

CLAY 

7  MA 

5.401134352 

LEONARD 

7  LA 

4.783422885 

LEONARD 

7  MA 

15.04301674 

THOMAS 

7  MA 

15.43576822 

BAYNES 

8  RD 

3.403346392 

BLAIR 

8  RD 

3.526341592 

BLAIR 

8  MA 

16.55822821 

CARR 

8  RD 

5.197767678 

CARR 

8  MA 

4.679822562 

CHAPMAN 

8  RD 

4.738508821 

CHAPMAN 

8  LA 

3.193839303 

CHAPMAN 

8  MA 

5.173015929 

CRAWFORD 

8  RD 

4.004065578 

CRAWFORD 

8  MA 

14.15098834 

MUKONO 

8  MA 

5.567967465 

NUNN 

8  RD 

9.979282261 

NUNN 

8  MA 

9.18464465 

SAWYER 

8  RD 

8.23781398 

SAWYER 

8  MA 

4.527173489 

SMITH 

8  RD 

5.850408204 

SMITH 

8  MA 

5.219466222 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Turner  Middle  School  was  not 
managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  54%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from  54% 
to  9.3%. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  four  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  Turner  Middle  School. 

Third,  of  the  34  flagged  classrooms  at  Turner  Middle  School,  22  (63%  of  the  total)  had 
standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  eight  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.   This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 


277 


mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Turner  Middle  School. 

Fourth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  85%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  54%  of  the  total 
classrooms  in  the  school. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.       Mary  Gordon  (Teacher) 

Mary  Gordon  taught  at  Turner  Middle  School  in  2009  and  now  teaches  at  Benjamin 
Carson.  Gordon  was  given  the  common  assessment  test  and  an  answer  sheet  one  year  and  told  to 
administer  the  test.  She  refused  to  administer  the  tests  and  when  she  told  her  supervisors  about 
the  incident  later,  she  was  told  that  she  misunderstood.  She  was  told  the  assessment  and 
accompanying  answer  sheet  were  meant  to  be  "teaching  tools,"  but  Gordon  said  it  was  clear  she 
was  supposed  to  cheat.  She  was  later  placed  on  a  PDP. 

C.  Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Karen  Riggins-Taylor  (Principal) 

Principal  Riggins-Taylor  denied  cheating  but  did  not  have  an  alternate  explanation  for  the 
unusually  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures.  She  stated  that  she  always  made  a  point  not 
to  go  into  the  halls  or  the  classrooms  during  testing.  She  stayed  in  the  main  office.  She  did  not 
have  an  explanation  for  why  this  was  her  practice. 

D.  Other  Evidence 

OIR  investigated  allegations  of  cheating  at  Turner  in  the  spring  of  2009.  An  anonymous 
complainant  alleged  that  Principal  Riggins-Taylor  and  other  teachers  cheated  on  the  2009  writing 
test.  He  or  she  also  alleged  that  Principal  Riggins-Taylor  organized  a  group  of  teachers  to  cheat 
on  the  2009  CRCT. 

APS  hired  Stan  Williams  to  investigate  the  allegations.  Williams  found  that  the  claims 
were  unsubstantiated. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

From  all  of  the  above,  we  believe  that  there  is  no  other  rational  conclusion  but  that  there 
was  widespread  cheating  at  Turner  Middle  School  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  that  the  principal 
should  have  known  of  this. 

Principal  Riggins-Taylor  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for 
ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  the  investigation  that 
Principal  Karen  Riggins-Taylor  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.    This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 


278 


falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


279 


WHITE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1 890  Detroit  Avenue  Principal:  Tamarah  Larkin-Currie  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314  Testing  Coordinator:  Kevin  Wright 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  White  Elementary  in  2009.  Twenty -nine  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  White  is  evidenced  by  a  high 
number  of  flagged  classrooms.  Principal  Tamarah  Larkin-Currie  failed  to  properly  monitor  the 
2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


A.       2009  vs.  2010 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

47.4 

22.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

27 

11 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

14(11) 

8(3) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.8 

4.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

18.8 

5.7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.2 

B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade  & 

Standard 

Test 

Deviation 

ANDREWS 

1  LA 

3.093352558 

ANDREWS 

1  MA 

13.31846401 

DICKENS 

1  LA 

4.305045861 

DICKENS 

1  MA 

6.582281814 

WRIGHT 

2  MA 

5.396188472 

GILBERT  JACKSON 

2  MA 

3.095028739 

HOWARD 

3RD 

5.696759054 

HOWARD 

3  MA 

7.216407716 

MOMON 

3  RD 

18.77228641 

MOMON 

3  MA 

10.22071985 

YOUNGINER 

3  RD 

4.019487408 

YOUNGINER 

3  MA 

12.2710999 

BLOUNT 

4  RD 

9.625215713 

BLOUNT 

4  MA 

4.500538231 

NEGUSSE 

4  RD 

4.109736232 

NEGUSSE 

4  MA 

3.156223239 

BARRETT 

5  RD 

3.761841042 

BARRETT 

5  MA 

4.00108088 

CARVIL 

5  MA 

10.32101268 

CONYERS 

5  RD 

9.50849652 

CONYERS 

5  MA 

5.544520999 

DONDELL 

5  RD 

10.30434773 

DONDELL 

5  LA 

3.400448928 

DONDELL 

5  MA 

5.161987619 

EDWARDS 

5  RD 

8.182077833 

EDWARDS 

5  LA 

4.58897914 

EDWARDS 

5  MA 

3.727487447 

280 


III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 


There  are  several  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  White  Elementary  School  was 
not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  47.4%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  There  were 
only  23  schools  in  APS  with  a  higher  percentage  in  2009. 

Second,  of  the  approximately  1,800  non-APS  schools  in  the  state  taking  the  2009  CRCT, 
only  six  had  a  higher  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  than  White  Elementary  School. 

Third,  with  state  monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped 
significantly  from  47.4%  to  22.9%. 

Fourth,  of  the  27  flagged  classrooms  at  White  Elementary  School,  15  (55.6%  of  the  total) 
had  standard  deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  six  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations. 
At  five  standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at  White 
Elementary  School. 

Fifth  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  White,  77%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only  47.4% 
of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Sixth,  Kevin  Wright,  the  Instructional  Liaison  Specialist  at  White  Elementary  during  the 
2009  CRCT,  stated  only  Principal  Larkin-Currie  had  both  keys  to  her  office  and  the  conference 
room  within  her  office  where  CRCT  materials  were  stored  when  not  being  used  for  testing.  She 
thus  had  sole  access  to  the  stored  tests  at  White. 

Last,  Larkin-Currie  stated  in  her  February  2,  2011,  interview  that  she  believed  students 
were  responsible  for  the  erasures.  She  further  stated  she  had  no  knowledge  or  belief  of  how 
cheating  could  have  occurred  at  White  Elementary.  In  her  May  10,  2010,  interview  by  KPMG 
representatives  as  a  part  of  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission  investigation,  she  stated  as  a  fact  that 
no  teacher  would  cheat.  It  is  apparent  Larkin-Currie  was  out  of  touch  with  what  was  going  on  in 
her  school. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

Principal  Tamarah  Larkin-Currie  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities 
and  for  ensuring  the  ethical  administration  of  and  proper  security  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our 
conclusion  from  the  statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence  secured  in  this  investigation  that 
Principal  Tamarah  Larkin-Currie  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  and  adequately 
supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is  responsible  for, 
falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia 
Department  of  Education. 


281 


HARPER  ARCHER  MIDDLE  SCHOOL 


130  Trinity  Avenue  SW  Principal:  Michael  Milstead  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  GA  30303-3626  Testing  Coordinator:  Mary  Brooks 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Harper  Archer  Middle  in  2009.  Fifty-two  people 
were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Although  no  one  confessed,  the  teachers, 
almost  unanimously,  agree  that  cheating  occurred.  Cheating  at  Harper  Archer  is  evidenced  by 
witness  testimony. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 

A.       2009  vs.  2010 


2009 

2011) 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

24.1 

0.7 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

34 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

26(4) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

15.8 

3.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

34.7 

3.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.8 

3.2 

282 


B.       Flagged  Classrooms 


Teacher 

Grade& 
Test 

Standard  Deviation 

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/  1VIA 

1  S  SM^OS?  1  /lO 
1  J.  o40zol4Z 

RT?  OWN 
JjKW  W  1\ 

8  MA 

DEEPNARAIN 

8  MA 

4.582951024 

JONES,  N 

8  MA 

13.69397201 

JONES,  T 

8RD 

34.6715554 

JONES,  T 

8  LA 

19.66876267 

JONES,  T 

8  MA 

15.76473105 

LEFTWICH 

8  MA 

21.15254429 

LOVETT 

8  MA 

19.63901724 

MILLEDGE 

8  MA 

13.31518156 

PURNELL 

8  MA 

19.39589402 

STALLWORTH 

8  MA 

13.84211581 

SYPHERTT 

8  MA 

29.48081698 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Overview 

There  are  several  significant  facts  which  point  to  the  conclusion  that  Harper  Archer 
Middle  School  was  not  managed  to  ensure  that  the  2009  CRCT  results  were  accurately  reported. 

First,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  is  24.1%  for  the  2009  CRCT.  With  state 
monitors  present  in  2010,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  dropped  significantly  from 
24.1%  to  0.7%. 

Second,  of  the  34  flagged  classrooms  at  Harper  Archer  32  (94%  of  the  total)  had  standard 
deviations  that  exceeded  five,  and  24  classrooms  exceeded  ten  standard  deviations.  At  five 
standard  deviations,  the  probability  that  the  number  of  erasures  occurred  without  adult 
intervention,  or  cheating,  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  million.  At  ten  standard  deviations  the 
probability  is  no  better  than  one  in  a  trillion.  This  signifies  that  the  deviations  from  the  state 
mean  were,  for  a  number  of  classrooms,  a  strong  indication  of  cheating  on  a  broad  scale  at 
Harper  Archer. 


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Third  is  the  individual  student  wrong-to-right  (WTR)  erasure  analysis.  Of  the  WTR 
erasures  at  Harper  Archer  69%  were  produced  by  the  flagged  classrooms  which  account  for  only 
24.1%  of  the  total  classrooms  in  the  school. 

Finally,  the  majority  of  the  teachers  interviewed  believed  cheating  occurred.  The 
teachers'  consensus  is  the  administrators  and  SRT-4  personnel  cheated.  The  teachers  also 
believe  that  Principal  Milstead  left  Harper  Archer  because  SRT-4  Executive  Director  Tamara 
Cotman  wanted  him  to  cheat  and  he  refused. 

B.  Narrative 

Harper  Archer  Middle  School  has  historically  struggled  in  math.  Low  math  scores  and  a 
20%  special  education  population  prevented  Harper  Archer  from  making  AYP  year  after  year. 
Harper  Archer  had  not  made  AYP  for  at  least  the  last  three  years  and  was  on  the  State's  Needs 
Improvement  List  in  the  2008-2009  school  year.  Tamara  Cotman,  whose  office  was  located  in 
the  same  building  as  Harper  Archer,  put  pressure  on  Principal  Michael  Milstead  and  the  math 
coaches  (Barbara  Bienemy  and  Arn  St.  Cyr)  to  improve  math  scores  and  make  AYP.  Cotman 
put  Principal  Milstead  on  a  PDP.  Milstead  said  he  understood  that  if  Harper  Archer  did  not 
make  AYP  in  2009,  he  would  be  fired.  Cotman  made  it  clear  to  Milstead  that  the  key  to  staying 
employed  by  APS  was  to  make  AYP  "by  any  means  necessary." 

Principal  Milstead  believed  that  Cotman  was  more  interested  in  the  test  scores  than  the 
students.  Principal  Milstead  refused  to  pressure  teachers  about  scores.  He  explicitly  instructed 
teachers  they  were  not  to  do  anything  unethical.  Under  Milstead,  the  school  made  steady,  but 
incremental  improvements.  In  early  2009,  prior  to  the  CRCT,  Principal  Milstead  announced  that 
he  was  leaving  APS  at  the  end  of  the  school  year  because  of  differences  with  the  administration. 
Although  he  did  not  specifically  name  Cotman,  the  teachers  knew  that  she  constantly  threatened 
Milstead  with  his  job  if  the  school  did  not  make  AYP.  The  teachers  and  staff  suspected  that 
Cotman  fired  Milstead  because  he  refused  to  cheat  to  get  scores  up. 

Milstead  expressed  his  concern  at  a  principals'  meeting  that  too  many  students  arrived  at 
Harper  Archer  from  the  "feeder"  elementary  schools  with  exemplary  CRCT  scores,  but  these 
students  were  several  grade  levels  behind.  Milstead  suggested  that  the  elementary  and  middle 
school  principals  work  together  more  and  share  information  to  address  this  problem.  This 
meeting  occurred  in  May  2008.  In  August  of  2008,  Cotman  met  with  Milstead  and  told  him  that 
the  principals  were  very  upset  about  his  comments.  Cotman  was  angry  and  gave  Milstead  a 
verbal  reprimand.  Later,  she  told  him  she  would  not  be  renewing  his  contract.  Milstead  resigned 
instead. 

Teachers  were  shocked  at  the  large  jumps  in  math  scores  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Many 
teachers  discussed  that  the  math  scores  could  not  be  legitimate.  They  knew  their  students  could 
not  have  scored  so  well.  Teachers  described  a  Special  Education  math  student  who  could  not  use 
a  calculator,  but  exceeded  on  the  CRCT.  Students  who  could  not  read  passed  the  CRCT.  One 
teacher  reported  that  one  of  her  students  slept  through  the  entire  test,  but  still  passed. 

Teachers  were  not  surprised  to  learn  that  Harper  Archer  was  flagged  and  that  25  of  the  34 
flagged  classes  were  math  classes.    Virtually  every  teacher  at  Harper  Archer  believed  that 


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cheating  occurred.  Not  one  teacher  believed  that  Principal  Milstead  was  involved  in  cheating. 
Teachers  uniformly  pointed  to  administrators  and  SRT-4  personnel  who  had  access  to  the  tests. 
The  individuals  on  the  testing  team  with  access  to  the  tests  included:  Testing  Coordinator  Mary 
Brooks,  ILS  Sharon  Green,  Special  Education  Director  Tanya  Woods,  math  coaches  Barbara 
Bienemy  and  Arn  St.  Cyr,  and  SRT-4' s  Model  Teacher  Leader,  Diamond  Jack.  Principal 
Milstead  and  his  secretary,  Ms.  Westbrooks,  and  certain  SRT-4  personnel,  including  Tamara 
Cotman,  had  access  to  the  vault  where  the  tests  were  stored. 

The  day  after  the  math  portion  of  the  test  was  given  in  2009,  the  custodian,  Joie  Phillips, 
went  to  the  SRT-4  office  to  change  out  a  water  cooler  when  he  heard  some  of  the  SRT-4  staff 
discussing  that  the  students  were  "doing  good  on  the  test."  Mr.  Phillips  shared  this  information 
with  some  of  the  teachers. 

C.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.       Michael  Milstead  (Principal) 

Principal  Milstead  worked  at  Harper  Archer  Middle  School  from  2006  to  2009.  Tamara 
Cotman  placed  Milstead  on  a  PDP  two  out  of  the  three  years  he  was  employed  at  Harper  Archer 
because  the  school  did  not  make  AYP  targets.  Even  though  the  school  showed  growth,  because 
they  did  not  make  AYP  or  targets,  Milstead  scored  below  expectations  on  his  evaluations.  Mr. 
Milstead  attributes  the  challenges  at  Harper  Archer  to  a  20%  special  education  population.  The 
state  average  is  approximately  7-8%.  The  school  also  historically  struggled  in  math  and  science, 
but  showed  progress  over  the  years  he  served  as  principal.  Milstead  believed  his  math  teachers 
worked  hard  and  spent  a  lot  of  time  tutoring  students  and  developing  strategies  to  assist  them. 
Cotman  made  it  clear  on  several  occasions  that  Milstead  would  be  without  a  job  if  the  school  did 
not  make  AYP.  Cotman  did  not  want  Harper  Archer  in  the  "needs  improvement"  category 
again.  Principal  Milstead  understood  Cotman  wanted  him  to  make  AYP  "by  any  means 
necessary."  It  was  clear  to  Principal  Milstead  that  Cotman' s  primary  concern  was  test  scores, 
not  the  students. 

Principal  Milstead  resigned  from  APS  in  2009  after  Cotman  told  him  she  would  not  be 
renewing  his  contract.  Milstead  believes  that  Cotman  did  this  because  of  comments  he  made  at  a 
principals'  meeting  in  May  2008.  During  that  meeting,  the  principals  were  talking  about  the 
CRCT.  Milstead  expressed  that  a  lot  of  students  arriving  at  Harper  Archer  from  the  elementary 
schools  showed  exemplary  CRCT  scores  from  fifth  grade,  yet  were  multiple  grade  levels  behind 
academically.  Milstead  expressed  his  desire  that  the  principals  work  together  and  share 
information  to  eliminate  this  problem.  In  August  of  2008,  Cotman  told  him  the  principals  were 
very  upset  about  what  he  said  at  the  meeting.  One  principal  wanted  Cotman  to  do  something 
about  his  remarks.  Cotman  was  angry  with  Milstead  and  gave  him  a  verbal  reprimand. 

When  the  2009  CRCT  scores  were  published,  Principal  Milstead  was  astonished  by  how 
well  the  eighth  grade  students  had  performed  as  a  whole,  but  particularly  by  the  double-digit 
jump  in  math  scores.  Milstead  had  been  in  administration  for  a  decade  and  had  never  seen 
double-digit  gains  in  one  subject  area. 


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Milstead  could  not  explain  the  high  number  of  erasures.  Cheating  could  not  have 
occurred  during  the  school  day  without  him  knowing  about  it.  Only  those  with  keys  and  access 
to  the  tests  could  be  responsible.  The  tests  were  stored  in  a  vault  in  one  of  the  hallways. 
Milstead,  and  his  secretary,  Selitha  Westbrook,  had  a  key.  Testing  Coordinator  Mary  Brooks 
either  had  a  key  as  well  or  she  used  Ms.  Westbrook' s  key.  Principal  Milstead  assumed  Cotman 
also  had  a  key  to  the  vault.  Cotman  had  access  to  the  building  as  well,  as  did  some  of  her  SRT-4 
employees.  On  some  mornings,  Principal  Milstead  reported  to  school  early  and  the  model 
teacher  leaders  from  Cotman' s  office  were  already  there.  One  of  the  SRT-4  employees  was 
Model  Teacher  Leader  Diamond  Jack.  She  was  very  close  with  Executive  Director  Cotman  and 
was  "not  a  friend  of  Harper  Archer."  SRO  Campbell  and  ILS  Green  were  also  close  to  Cotman. 

Principal  Milstead  did  not  remember  anyone  staying  late  the  week  of  testing  and  added 
that  he  tried  to  get  everyone  out  of  the  school  when  testing  was  over.  No  one  should  have  been 
in  the  building  during  the  weekend  after  testing.  Principal  Milstead  was  surprised  at  the  length 
of  time  the  test  documents  remained  in  the  school  when  testing  was  over. 

During  the  2008-2009  school  year,  Milstead  noticed  that  more  SRT  employees  were 
present  during  the  week  of  testing  than  in  years  past.  Typically  only  one  SRT-4  representative 
would  be  at  the  school,  but  that  year  there  were  two  or  three  additional  SRT  employees  at  the 
school. 

2.  Lebroyce  Sublett  (Assistant  Principal) 

Lebroyce  Sublett  served  as  the  assistant  principal  at  Harper  Archer  beginning  in  2006- 
2007.  Sublett  said  Principal  Milstead  left  Harper  Archer  because  he  was  forced  out  by  Cotman, 
who  wanted  higher  CRCT  scores  to  meet  AYP  and  APS  targets.  It  was  implied  at  APS  that  if 
you  did  not  make  targets,  you  would  lose  your  job,  and  he  saw  this  happen  to  others.  Sublett  and 
Principal  Milstead  were  both  put  on  a  PDP  by  Cotman  because  of  the  performance  of  the  school. 
Sublett  and  Principal  Milstead  refused  to  do  anything  unethical,  but  after  being  put  on  a  PDP 
repeatedly,  Milstead  began  looking  for  a  new  job.  Cotman  wanted  Milstead  to  put  teachers  on  a 
PDP.  Principal  Milstead  was  told  that  if  he  would  not  put  the  teachers  on  PDP  he  would  be  put 
on  one  himself.  Sublett  knew  that  PDPs  were  used  to  get  rid  of  teachers  who  did  not  "fit  the 
mold."  Milstead  refused. 

Cotman  encouraged  Principal  Milstead  and  Assistant  Principal  Sublett  to  visit  Parks 
Middle  School,  to  see  what  Parks  was  doing  "right."  They  visited  Parks,  and  were  not  surprised 
that  they  saw  nothing  extraordinary  going  on.  They  believed  Parks'  scores  were  achieved  by 
cheating. 

Sublett  suspects  the  SRT  and  model  teacher  leaders  are  responsible  for  the  erasures  that 
occurred  at  Harper  Archer.  SRT  employees  had  access  to  the  building  and  the  secure  storage 
area. 

3.  Deborah  Mills  (Special  Education  Teacher) 

Deborah  Mills  was  surprised  at  the  high  number  of  WTR  erasures  on  the  CRCT  at  Harper 
Archer.  She  did  not  recall  any  excessive  erasing  during  the  testing  for  her  special  education 
students.    She  did  hear  regular  education  teachers  discussing  that  they  were  surprised  by  the 


286 


results  for  the  math  section  of  the  CRCT.  Mills  believed  it  was  clear  something  happened  with 
regard  to  the  math  portion  of  the  CRCT  and  states  that  APS  created  a  culture  where  testing  was 
"do  or  die." 

4.  Renee  Goodwin  (Teacher) 

Renee  Goodwin  has  been  a  teacher  at  Harper  Archer  since  2005.  Goodwin  reported  that 
she  was  shocked  that  her  classroom  was  flagged  and  wondered  what  happened.  The  math  scores 
in  2008-2009  increased  significantly  and  the  increase  was  not  consistent  with  the  work  that 
students  did  throughout  the  year.  There  were  students  that  passed  or  exceeded  that  should  not 
have  passed  according  to  projections  by  the  teachers. 

The  teachers  at  Harper  Archer  provided  a  projection  list  to  the  administration,  referred  to 
as  "bubble  list."  This  list  projected  how  each  student  in  each  class  would  perform  on  the  CRCT. 

5.  Robin  Glenn  (Teacher) 

Robin  Glenn  was  a  teacher  at  Harper  Archer  from  2006  until  January  201 1  when  she  was 
transferred  to  Perkerson  Elementary.  Harper  Archer  always  struggled  in  math.  The  students  at 
Harper  Archer  could  barely  do  their  multiplication  tables.  When  Glenn  saw  the  2009  CRCT 
scores,  she  was  shocked.  Some  special  education  students  scored  higher  than  gifted  students  in 
math.  Glenn  does  not  believe  that  teachers  or  administrators  changed  the  students'  tests. 

6.  Brandy  Williams  (Teacher) 

Brandy  Williams  began  working  at  Harper  Archer  during  the  2008-2009  school  year. 
Williams  was  surprised  by  several  students  in  her  class  who  passed  the  CRCT.  She  described 
one  student  in  particular  that  failed  in  class  all  year,  but  passed  the  CRCT.  Williams  recalls 
providing  a  projection  sheet  of  how  she  expected  her  students  to  perform  on  the  CRCT  to  ILS 
Green,  Principal  Milstead  and  possibly  the  math  coach,  Arn  St.  Cyr. 

Williams  denied  erasing  anything  on  her  students'  tests  or  doing  anything  to  trigger  her 
students  to  erase.  Cotman  and  Principal  Milstead  pressured  Green  and  St.  Cyr  with  regard  to 
improving  math  scores.  During  content  meetings,  Green  and  St.  Cyr  would  give  the  faculty  a 
hard  time  about  improving  math  scores  as  well. 

Williams  left  immediately  after  school  during  testing,  but  recalled  that  Green,  as  well  as 
the  other  instructional  coaches,  worked  late. 

Principal  Milstead  put  Williams  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores  after  her  first  year  at  Harper 
Archer  because  Cotman  instructed  him  to  do  so. 

7.  Sheena  Simmons  (Teacher) 

Sheena  Simmons  arrived  at  Harper  Archer  in  2008  under  the  Teach  for  America  program. 
During  the  time  she  was  employed  at  Harper  Archer  there  were  four  different  principals  assigned 
to  the  school.  She  described  the  climate  at  Harper  Archer  as  a  negative  atmosphere.  She  felt  that 
the  teachers  were  "setup"  because  of  all  the  change  and  instability  among  the  administration. 


287 


Mr.  Milstead  was  the  principal  in  2008-2009,  but  left  because  he  had  one  idea  of  what 
was  best  for  the  students  and  other  people  had  different  ideas.  Simmons  did  not  believe  that 
Principal  Milstead  would  cheat  or  erase  answers  on  students'  tests.  Cotman  told  the  principals 
that  they  needed  to  make  AYP  "by  any  means  necessary."  Principal  Milstead  stressed  that 
teachers  should  not  do  anything  they  felt  would  be  wrong. 

When  confronted  with  the  erasure  analysis,  Simmons  was  suspicious  of  the  amount  of 
erasures  from  wrong  to  right.  Simmons  was  concerned  that  36  questions  were  erased  from 
wrong  to  right. 

8.  Malika  Syphert  (Teacher) 

Malika  Syphert  administered  the  CRCT  in  2009.  She  placed  her  students  in  alphabetical 
order  in  rows.  After  administering  the  test,  she  picked  up  the  tests  in  alphabetical  order  and 
returned  them  in  that  fashion.  Sometimes  the  testing  documents  would  no  longer  be  in 
alphabetical  order  when  she  picked  them  up  the  next  day.  Syphert  said  this  could  have  been 
because  of  the  makeup  tests,  which  were  administered  by  Testing  Coordinator  Brooks. 

Syphert  recalled  conversations  among  teachers  about  former  principal  Michael  Milstead 
refusing  to  cheat  resulting  in  Cotman  asking  him  to  leave.  Cotman  was  considered  an 
authoritarian  and  a  dictator.  Frances  Thompson  replaced  Principal  Milstead.  Cotman  and 
Thompson  were  close. 

When  the  teachers  received  the  2009  CRCT  results,  they  did  not  want  to  share  them  with 
the  students.  The  math  teachers  believed  the  math  scores  were  inflated.  Two  teachers  expressed 
their  concerns  about  these  math  scores  to  St.  Cyr  and  Bienemy,  the  math  coaches. 

Syphert  was  not  surprised  when  Harper  Archer  was  flagged  because  of  the  inflated  math 

scores. 

9.  Kelli  Koen  (Teacher) 

Kelli  Koen  denied  knowledge  of,  or  participation  in,  cheating.  She  did  not  see  any 
students  erasing  excessively  during  testing  and  said  she  would  have  noticed  if  students  had 
erased  excessively.  When  she  learned  Harper  Archer  was  one  of  the  flagged  schools,  she 
discussed  this  with  Brandy  Williams,  and  other  math  teachers.  There  was  discussion  among  the 
teachers  that  Green,  who  had  a  math  background,  and  Tanya  Woods  were  responsible  for  the 
erasures. 

Koen  believed  something  was  happening  with  CRCT  documents  when  teacher  Matthew 
Leftwich's  students'  test  scores  came  in.  All  of  his  students  passed,  with  large  gains  in  math 
scores.  Koen  knew  those  students  could  not  have  performed  on  that  level. 

Principal  Milstead  wanted  the  school  to  make  targets  during  the  2008-2009  school  year, 
but  never  threatened  to  place  teachers  on  a  PDP.  However,  Principal  Frances  Thompson  told  the 
teachers  that  they  could  be  placed  on  a  PDP  for  low  test  scores. 


288 


10.      Roshanda  May  (Teacher) 


Roshanda  May  believes  there  was  cheating,  but  denied  that  she  was  involved.  Cotman 
and  Green  would  have  access  to  the  tests.  Cotman  pressured  Principal  Milstead  to  improve  the 
test  scores,  which  is  why  he  left  after  the  2008-2009  school  year. 

11.  Nautrie  Jones  (Teacher) 

Principal  Milstead  resigned  prior  to  the  2009  tests  being  given.  He  told  the  faculty  he 
had  resigned  and  said  that  everyone  had  certain  goals  they  were  trying  to  achieve,  but  he  had 
different  ideas  about  how  to  reach  them.  When  the  2009  CRCT  scores  came  back,  Nautrie  Jones 
and  other  teachers  on  her  grade  level  team  were  all  very  upset  because  they  knew  their  students 
had  not  legitimately  achieved  their  scores.  Teachers  at  Harper  Archer  were  not  involved.  She 
believed  people  on  the  SRT  level,  including  the  model  teacher  leaders,  were  involved. 

12.  Andrea  Leslie  (Special  Education  Teacher) 

Andrea  Leslie  said  that  the  high  number  of  erasures  in  all  three  of  her  special  education 
classrooms  could  only  occur  by  someone  erasing  and  changing  her  students'  answers.  Leslie 
named  Green,  Brooks,  and  the  math  coaches,  Jack,  St.  Cyr  and  another  math  coach,  as  having 
access  to  the  tests.  The  SRT -4  staff  and  model  teacher  leaders  also  had  access  to  the  tests  and 
testing  materials.  Leslie  denied  cheating. 

Ms.  Leslie  recalled  there  was  a  student  in  her  class  who  had  on  headphones  and  a  hood 
during  the  2009  CRCT.  Coach  Gibson  took  this  student  out  of  the  classroom,  talked  with  him, 
and  brought  him  back.  That  student  had  very  high  WTR  erasures. 

She  recalled  a  student  who  could  not  read  or  even  write  her  name.  This  student  had 
substantial  WTR  erasures  on  the  math  section  of  her  test. 

13.  Harold  Lovett  (Teacher) 

Harold  Lovett' s  eighth  graders  read  on  a  fourth  to  fifth  grade  level  on  the  2009  CRCT. 
He  noticed  that  seals  were  broken  on  one  or  two  of  the  CRCT  booklets.  He  never  reported  this 
to  anyone  because  he  thought  a  student  had  possibly  done  it.  Lovett  explained  the  high  number 
of  erasures  in  his  classroom  as  someone  other  than  himself  changing  answers  and  altering  tests. 

14.  Jerry  Willard  (Teacher) 

Jerry  Willard  said  Green  had  both  key  card  and  alarm  code  access  to  the  building. 
Willard  arrived  at  school  around  6:30  a.m.  each  morning.  He  would  have  to  wait  to  be  let  into 
the  building  by  Green,  who  used  her  key  card  and  alarm  code  to  access  the  building. 

Willard  believed  Principal  Milstead  left  because  he  would  not  do  something  that  Cotman 
asked  him  to  do  with  regard  to  the  CRCT. 


289 


15.      Elbert  Edwards  (Teacher) 


Elbert  Edwards  believed  cheating  occurred  at  Harper  Archer.  He  did  not  believe  Testing 
Coordinator  Mary  Brooks  was  involved  in  changing  any  answers.  He  described  Brooks  as  a 
"stickler"  about  procedure.  Edwards  routinely  worked  late  and  sometimes  did  not  leave  until 
8:00  p.m.  SRT-4  personnel  would  still  be  in  the  building.  Edwards  suspected  these  SRT 
employees,  especially  Cotman,  altered  students'  tests.  He  did  not  suspect  Assistant  Principal 
Sublett  or  Principal  Milstead  of  anything  unethical. 

16.  Sheila  Brown  (Teacher) 

During  the  2009  CRCT,  one  of  the  janitors,  Joie  Phillips,  approached  Sheila  Brown  the 
day  after  the  math  section  of  the  CRCT  was  given  to  the  students.  Phillips  said  that  the  students 
had  done  well  on  the  CRCT.  Brown  asked  Phillips  how  he  knew  that  since  there  was  no  way 
anyone  should  already  know  how  the  students  had  performed.  Phillips  told  Brown  that  he 
overheard  some  SRT-4  employees  talking  about  it. 

Brown  denied  doing  anything  to  prompt  her  students  to  change  answers.  Brown  did  not 
notice  her  students  erasing  excessively  during  the  test. 

Brown  was  not  shocked  when  she  found  out  that  Harper  Archer  was  one  of  the  flagged 
schools.  Teachers  complained  about  students  who  passed  the  CRCT  that  year  who  should  never 
have  passed  the  examination. 

Brown  recalled  one  specific  student  in  her  class  who  was  a  special  education  student,  but 
exceeded  on  the  math  section  of  the  CRCT.  This  student  could  not  read. 

There  was  discussion  that  the  SRT-4  model  teacher  leaders  and  Cotman  erased  answers 
on  the  tests.  Brown  does  not  believe  that  St.  Cyr  would  cheat,  but  Green  and  Testing 
Coordinator  Brooks  were  very  close.  Green  often  worked  late  at  the  school. 

17.  Alana  Allen  (Teacher) 

Alana  Allen  reported  that  she  was  surprised  by  the  high  2009  CRCT  scores  of  other 
teachers.  Allen  recalled  several  students  who  she  did  not  feel  could  pass  the  CRCT,  including 
one  special  education  student,  but  who  exceeded  standards  on  the  CRCT.  The  special  education 
students'  scores  were  higher  than  some  of  the  students  who  were  known  to  perform  well  on  the 
test.  One  of  the  math  teachers,  Mr.  Leftwich,  complained  that  one  of  his  students  fell  asleep 
during  testing,  yet  he  achieved  very  high  test  scores.  Leftwich  could  not  understand  how  this 
could  happen. 

Allen  and  Leftwich  knew  something  was  wrong  with  the  test  scores  when  they  assessed 
the  eighth  grade  math  test  scores  at  the  school.  Allen  taught  the  students  at  Harper  Archer  who 
were  the  lowest  performing  students  in  the  eighth  grade.  Students  on  Leftwich' s  team  scored 
similarly  to  Allen's  students  on  benchmark  tests,  but  on  the  CRCT  performed  exceptionally  well. 

Harper  Archer  teachers  believe  that  the  SRT-4  employees,  including  SRT  Executive 
Director  Tamara  Cotman,  were  responsible  for  the  erasures.  It  was  obvious  to  the  teachers  that 


290 


something  had  gone  wrong.  Cotman  said  that  the  students  in  the  school  had  to  pass  the  test  or 
the  school  was  going  to  close  and  no  one  would  have  a  job.  Allen  and  other  teachers  at  the 
school  believed  Principal  Milstead  was  forced  to  resign  because  he  would  not  do  the  things  that 
Cotman  wanted  him  to  do. 

18.  Katie  Reichenbach  (Teacher) 

When  the  spring  2009  CRCT  scores  were  announced,  many  of  the  teachers  were 
surprised  at  the  scores  and  concerned  that  somebody  within  Harper  Archer's  administration 
cheated.  Teachers  acknowledged  that  the  math  scores  were  "not  real."  Reichenbach  believed 
ILS  Sharon  Green  was  under  a  lot  of  pressure  to  improve  scores.  Green  said  that  they  needed  to 
get  the  test  scores  up  so  "these  people  [SRT-4]  will  get  off  of  our  backs." 

Reichenbach  believed  that  Principal  Milstead  was  forced  out  because  Tamara  Cotman 
wanted  him  to  cheat  and  he  refused. 

19.  Shanequa  Yates  (Teacher) 

Shanequa  Yates  recalled  that  when  the  2009  CRCT  scores  came  in  everyone  at  the  school 
was  thrilled.  However,  when  they  looked  over  the  test  scores,  something  was  not  right.  The 
scores  for  many  of  the  students  did  not  match  up  with  what  the  teachers  knew  about  them.  Yates 
and  her  co-workers  talked  about  their  shock  at  the  scores.  All  of  the  eighth  grade  teachers 
believed  that  Cotman  and  the  SRT-4  model  teacher  leaders  were  responsible  for  the  erasures. 

20.  Matthew  Leftwich  (Teacher) 

Matthew  Leftwich  recalled  that  the  teachers  were  excited  when  they  first  heard  about  the 
percentage  of  students  who  had  passed  the  CRCT  in  the  2008-2009  school  year.  But  when  the 
teachers  looked  at  individual  student  scores,  the  excitement  disappeared.  Leftwich  knew  that 
some  of  the  students  could  not  have  scored  as  high  as  they  had  in  math.  Leftwich  and  the  other 
teachers  at  Harper  Archer  knew  someone  altered  the  tests. 

When  the  erasure  analysis  came  out,  Leftwich  recalled  APS  employees  saying  students 
just  erased  a  lot,  especially  at  the  middle  school  level.  Leftwich  never  saw  his  students  erasing. 
On  average,  any  given  student  would  erase  less  than  four  times  per  section  on  a  standardized  test 
like  the  CRCT. 

The  teachers  believed  the  SRT  employees  were  responsible  for  the  erasures.  Leftwich 
heard  that  some  of  the  SRT-4  employees  were  overheard  talking  about  how  well  the  students 
performed  on  the  math  section  of  the  CRCT  before  anyone  knew  how  students  actually 
performed. 

21.  Joie  Phillips  (Custodian) 

Joie  Phillips  said  ILS  Sharon  Green  was  the  "boss"  of  Harper  Archer  and  tried  to  run  it  as 
if  she  was  in  charge  of  Principal  Milstead.  Green  did  not  report  to  work  early,  but  often  stayed 
late  after  school. 


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While  changing  a  water  jug  in  the  SRT-4  office,  Phillips  overheard  one  female  worker 
say  that  the  students  at  Harper  Archer  were  "doing  good"  on  the  CRCT.  This  comment  was 
made  during  the  week  of  testing.  Phillips  did  not  know  who  made  the  comment.  Phillips  told  a 
couple  of  the  teachers  on  the  eighth  grade  hall.  He  believes  one  of  those  teachers  was  Sheila 
Brown. 

22.  TatiaMobley  (Teacher) 

Tatia  Mobley  said  that  one  day  after  the  2009  CRCT  test,  math  coach  Barbara  Bienemy 
came  to  Leon  Bowers'  classroom  and  said  he  did  a  great  job.  Bienemy  stated,  "Your  kids  did  so 
good  in  math."  This  occurred  prior  to  the  results  of  the  CRCT  tests  being  published  to  the 
teachers.  When  the  CRCT  results  came  out,  the  teachers  felt  that  something  was  not  right  with 
the  test  scores.  Mobley  recalled  that  some  students  on  her  team  slept  during  the  CRCT,  yet 
passed  the  test.  Mobley  recalled  another  student  in  her  class  who  could  not  read,  but  passed  the 
CRCT. 

Mobley  feels  her  students  were  cheated.  Mobley  said  she  did  not  cheat  and  did  not 
prompt  her  students  to  change  their  answers. 

23.  Arn  St.  Cyr  (Math  Coach) 

During  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT,  Arn  St.  Cyr  assisted  ELS  Sharon  Green  and 
Testing  Coordinator  Brooks  with  sorting  and  preparing  the  test  materials  for  the  teachers.  He 
also  administered  the  CRCT  make-up  examination  in  the  media  center.  The  tests  were  stored  in 
the  school  vault.  Only  Principal  Milstead  and  his  secretary,  Ms.  Westbrook,  had  a  key  to  the 
vault.  St.  Cyr  believed  Cotman  had  a  key  to  the  vault  as  well. 

When  the  Harper  Archer  test  scores  came  out,  St.  Cyr  recalled  Bienemy  saying  that  the 
math  scores  were  unusually  high.  The  percentage  of  students  meeting  standards  on  the  math 
section  on  the  CRCT  had  jumped  to  around  50%.  St.  Cyr  believed  this  was  impossible. 
Principal  Milstead  was  also  suspicious  of  the  scores,  but  he  had  already  been  forced  to  resign  at 
the  time  the  scores  came  in.  St.  Cyr  believed  that  Principal  Milstead  had  not  improved  CRCT 
scores  quickly  enough  for  Cotman,  so  she  refused  to  renew  his  contract.  Principal  Milstead 
expressed  to  St.  Cyr  that  he  had  not  moved  the  school  at  the  pace  Cotman  had  expected. 

St.  Cyr  said  the  Special  Education  sub-group  and  the  math  scores  prevented  Harper 
Archer  from  making  AYP.  St.  Cyr  expressed  his  desire  for  the  cheating  to  end.  According  to 
him,  the  number  of  erasures  at  Harper  Archer  was  "statistically  impossible.  Not  improbable,  but 
impossible." 

24.  Travis  Jones  (Special  Education  Teacher) 

Travis  Jones  denied  he  prompted  his  students  during  testing  or  erased  any  of  his  students' 
answers.  Jones  believed  that  SRT-4  employees  had  something  to  do  with  the  erasures. 
According  to  Jones,  if  an  employee  had  integrity,  Cotman  would  get  rid  of  them.  If  employees 
did  not  fit  Cotman' s  mold,  she  would  find  a  way  to  get  rid  of  them.  Cotman  was  often  seen  with 
Special  Education  teacher  Woods,  ILS  Sharon  Green,  SRO  Veronica  Campbell,  and  the 


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counselors.  Jones  did  not  believe  that  Principal  Mlstead  would  have  had  anything  to  do  with 
cheating.  He  did  not  think  the  teachers  had  anything  to  do  with  cheating. 

25.      Barbara  Bienemy  (Math  Coach) 

When  Barbara  Bienemy  arrived  at  Harper  Archer  in  February  2009,  she  immediately 
noticed  that  students  lacked  basic  math  skills  such  as  adding,  subtracting,  multiplying  and 
dividing,  and  the  students  were  multiple  grade  levels  behind.  Based  on  the  trend  data,  math  and 
the  special  education  population  always  prevented  Harper  Archer  from  making  AYP.  Bienemy 
believed  that  whoever  was  responsible  for  erasures  had  to  be  good  in  math  and  have  access  to  the 
tests.  Testing  Coordinator  Brooks  and  ILS  Green  were  close,  both  were  good  in  math,  and  both 
had  access  to  the  tests. 

D.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Mary  Brooks  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Mary  Brooks  has  worked  at  Harper  Archer  since  2006,  when  she  was  transferred  from 
Turner  Middle  School  by  Executive  Director  Tamara  Cotman.  Brooks  claimed  that  Principal 
Milstead  did  not  speak  with  her  and  that  she  was  not  treated  as  fairly  as  her  male  counterparts. 
She  described  Milstead  as  a  male  chauvinist,  although  she  had  no  knowledge  of  Milstead  treating 
other  females  on  the  staff  any  differently.  Nonetheless,  Brooks  admitted  that  Milstead  did  a 
"wonderful"  job  turning  around  Harper  Archer,  and  he  did  a  lot  for  the  students. 

Brooks  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  or  participation  in  cheating.  She  did  not 
suspect  any  teachers  of  cheating  or  assisting  students  on  the  CRCT.  Brooks  could  not  explain 
the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  and  did  not  know  when  they  occurred.  The  testing 
team  during  the  2009  CRCT  consisted  of  Jacquelyn  King,  Tanya  Woods,  math  coaches  St.  Cyr 
and  Bienemy,  and  ILS  Green.  Brooks  stored  the  testing  materials  in  crates  in  the  school  vault 
overnight.  She  obtained  the  key  to  the  vault  from  the  school  secretary,  Ms.  Westbrooks,  and 
only  had  access  to  the  vault  during  the  testing  week  and  following  make  up  days.  Brooks  denied 
having  unrestricted  access  to  the  school.  Because  SRT-4  is  housed  in  the  same  building  as 
Harper  Archer,  SRT-4  staff  had  their  own  entrance  and  could  enter  the  Harper  Archer  school 
building  from  downstairs.  During  testing  week,  certain  individuals  from  the  central  office  came 
to  Harper  Archer,  but  she  could  only  recall  Lester  McKee's  name  from  APS's  Research  Planning 
and  Assessment  division.  Model  teacher  leaders  Diamond  Jack  and  Tracey  Colston  were  also 
present  from  SRT-4. 

2.  Sharon  Green  (ILS) 

Green  currently  serves  as  the  math  and  science  instructional  coach  at  Harper  Archer. 

During  the  2008-2009  CRCT  Mary  Brooks  served  as  the  Testing  Coordinator  at  Harper 
Archer.  Jacquelyn  King,  the  Success  for  All  coach,  St.  Cyr,  Bienemy,  and  Green  assisted 
Brooks  with  testing.  Several  model  teacher  leaders  from  SRT-4  also  assisted  during  testing: 
Diamond  Jack,  Nikki  Stroud,  and  Tracey  Colton.  Green  denied  any  knowledge  of  how  the 
wrong-to-right  erasures  occurred.  She  was  aware  that  Harper  Archer  struggled  in  multiple  areas, 
but  mostly  math.    Special  education  held  Harper  Archer  back  from  attaining  AYP.  Green 


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acknowledged  she  did  have  key  card  access  to  the  school  but  that  the  school  had  an  alarm  and 
the  Principal  and  Assistant  Principal  had  those  codes.  SRT  personnel  could  also  access  Harper 
Archer  from  downstairs  where  the  SRT  office  was  located.  Green  had  a  close  relationship  with 
Brooks,  and  the  instructional  coaches. 

E.       Other  Evidence 

•  The  percentage  of  classes  flagged  for  high  WTR  erasures  dropped  from 
24.1%  in  2009  to  .7%  in  2010. 

•  Correspondingly,  the  percentage  of  sixth  grade  students  who  met  or 
exceeded  standards  in  math  dropped  from  68%  in  2009  to  34%  in  2010, 
while  the  percentage  of  students  who  failed  math  skyrocketed  from  32% 
in  2009  to  67%  in  2010. 

•  The  percentage  of  eighth  grade  math  students  who  exceeded  standards  on 
the  CRCT  dropped  from  31%  in  2009  to  4%  in  2010.  Correspondingly, 
the  percentage  of  students  who  failed  increased  from  18%  to  33%  in  2010. 

•  Some  of  the  students  identified  by  teachers  as  students  who  should  not 
have  passed  the  CRCT,  who  slept  through  the  test,  or  who  could  not  read, 
had  the  highest  numbers  of  wrong-to-right  erasures. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  at  Harper  Archer  through  the  erasing  and  changing 
of  student  answers.  The  statistical  data  from  the  erasure  analysis,  student  data,  and  a  review  of 
score  drops  in  2010  reveal  patterns  similar  to  those  seen  in  schools  where  teachers  or 
administrators  confessed  to  erasing  and  changing  answers.  We  cannot  conclude  who  erased  and 
changed  the  students'  answers  at  Harper  Archer.  ELS  Green,  Testing  Coordinator  Brooks  and 
SRT -4  personnel,  including  Model  Teacher  Leaders  Diamond  Jack  and  Tamara  Cotman,  had 
access  to  the  tests.  Almost  unanimously,  the  teachers  pointed  to  Green,  Brooks  and  the  SRT -4 
personnel. 

Virtually  every  teacher  acknowledged  that  someone  altered  the  answers  on  the  students' 
tests,  particularly  in  math.  It  is  well  known  that  Harper  Archer  struggled  in  math  and  special 
education.  Only  math  and  special  education  classes  were  flagged.  Green  has  a  math 
background,  and  Diamond  Jack  is  the  Model  Teacher  Leader  for  math.  Cotman  put  incredible 
pressure  on  Milstead  and  Green  to  get  the  scores  up  and  meet  AYP,  and  Green  feared  she  would 
lose  her  job  if  the  scores  in  math  did  not  improve.  Green  had  a  close  relationship  with  Testing 
Coordinator  Brooks,  who  had  access  to  the  tests.  According  to  Milstead,  Cotman  non-renewed 
him  after  he  suggested  in  a  principals'  meeting  that  students'  CRCT  scores  from  elementary 
school  did  not  reflect  their  academic  abilities  in  the  classroom.  Cotman  made  it  clear  that 
Milstead  should  improve  student  scores  by  any  means  necessary. 

Student  data  also  indicated  that  someone  in  administration  or  SRT -4  cheated.  Some  of 
the  lowest  performing  students  had  the  highest  number  of  erasures  and  achieved  the  highest 


294 


scores  on  the  test.  These  low  performing  students  were  well  known  to  the  administrators,  since 
teachers  had  been  required  to  turn  in  "projection  sheets"  listing  each  student's  expected 
performance  just  a  few  weeks  before  the  test.  Some  testimony  indicates  this  was  the  first  time 
the  teachers  were  required  to  turn  the  projection  sheets  over  to  the  administration. 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  at  Harper  Archer,  but  we  are  unable  to  determine 
who  cheated.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Milstead  did  not  cheat,  condone  cheating,  or  know  of 
cheating.  Milstead  may  have  been  forced  out  of  his  position  by  Tamara  Cotman  because  of  his 
refusal  to  condone  cheating. 


295 


M.  AGNES  JONES  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1040  Fair  Street  South  Principal:  Margul  Retha  Woolfolk  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314  Testing  Coordinator:  Andrea  Johnson  Lewis 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  M.  Agnes  Jones  Elementary  in  2009  and  in  other 
years.  Twenty-five  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Six  people 
confessed  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT.  Cheating  at  M.  Agnes  Jones  is  evidenced  by  confessions 
and  witness  testimony. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

23.1 

7.8 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

18 

7 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

11(4) 

6(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.3 

3.8 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

9.5 

5.6 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Andrea  Lewis  was  the  testing  coordinator  in  2009.  She  was  assisted  by  Gwendolyn 
Alston,  Sedric  Scott,  and  Petrina  Howard.  Sedric  Scott  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  until 
he  took  and  failed  a  polygraph  examination.  After  failing  the  polygraph  examination,  he 
admitted  to  erasing  and  changing  students'  CRCT  answer  sheets  and  to  prompting  students  to 
change  incorrect  answers. 

Several  teachers  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT,  and  some  described  students 
whose  skills  and  abilities  did  not  correspond  to  their  high  CRCT  scores.  Many  witnesses  heard 
that  teachers  prompted  their  students  to  erase  and  change  answers  during  the  2009  CRCT,  and  in 
other  years.  Curtis  Gale,  who  confessed  to  prompting  students  and  erasing  and  changing 
answers  on  the  2009  CRCT,  testified  that  he  feared  he  would  be  terminated  if  his  scores  did  not 
improve. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.       Ann  Hill  (Teacher) 

Ann  Hill  testified  that  the  skills  and  abilities  of  her  second  grade  students  did  not  match 
their  first  grade  CRCT  scores.  She  heard  that  Curtis  Gale  only  read  two  answer  choices  to  his 
first  grade  students. 


296 


Former  Principal  Eunice  Robinson  threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  if  they  failed  to  raise 
CRCT  scores,  stating  if  she  were  placed  on  a  PDP,  teachers  would  also  be  placed  on  PDPs. 

2.  Demetrius  Barnes  (Teacher) 

Demetrius  Barnes  testified  that  the  skills  and  abilities  of  his  second  grade  students  did  not 
match  their  first  grade  CRCT  scores.  Curtis  Gale  only  read  two  answer  choices  to  his  first  grade 
students. 

In  2006,  Demetrius  Barnes  was  placed  on  a  team  with  Corliss  Love  and  Precious  Moon. 
When  the  three  were  working  late,  Love  and  Moon  suggested  they  open  the  vault  and  look  at 
testing  materials.  Barnes  could  not  recall  if  this  was  during  the  administration  of  the  CRCT  or  a 
state  writing  test.  Barnes  refused  to  participate  and  threatened  to  "go  over  the  principal's  head" 
if  anyone  looked  at  the  testing  materials. 

Love  and  Moon  had  copies  of  the  Fifth  Grade  Writing  Test  before  it  was  administered. 
Barnes  heard  that  they  knew  the  prompt  for  the  writing  test  "word  for  word,"  well  in  advance  of 
the  test. 

After  threatening  to  "go  over  the  principal's  head,"  and  report  Love  and  Moon's  plan  to 
get  into  the  vault,  Barnes  began  receiving  poor  evaluations  and  was  moved  from  the  upper 
grades  to  the  lower  grades. 

3.  Haneefa  Rasheed  (Teacher) 

Haneefa  Rasheed  testified  that  the  skills  and  abilities  of  her  second  grade  students  did  not 
match  their  high  first  grade  CRCT  scores. 

4.  Erica  Franklin  (Teacher) 

Erica  Franklin  testified  that  the  skills  and  abilities  of  her  second  grade  students  did  not 
match  their  high  first  grade  CRCT  scores.  She  heard  that  Curtis  Gale  only  read  two  answer 
choices  to  his  first  grade  students. 

5.  Ginneen  Smith  (Teacher) 

Former  Principal  Robinson  told  teachers  that  if  a  certain  number  of  students  did  not  pass 
the  CRCT,  the  teachers  would  be  placed  on  a  PDP.  Ginneen  Smith  heard  that  Curtis  Gale  only 
read  two  answer  choices  to  his  first  grade  students. 

6.  Chelsea  Vines  (Teacher) 

Chelsea  Vines  testified  that  former  Principal  Robinson  threatened  teachers  with  PDPs  if 
they  failed  to  raise  CRCT  scores,  stating  if  she  were  placed  on  a  PDP,  teachers  would  also  be 
placed  on  PDPs.  She  too  heard  that  Curtis  Gale  only  read  two  answer  choices  to  his  first  grade 
students. 


297 


Vines  heard  that  Precious  Moon  instructed  her  students  to  mark  their  CRCT  answers  in 
the  testing  booklet  and  not  on  the  answer  sheet.  This  allowed  her  to  check  student  answers  and 
instruct  them  to  change  incorrect  answers  and  avoid  wrong-to-right  erasures. 

7.  Ovella  Roberts  (Teacher) 

On  the  2006  ITBS  test,  Sedric  Scott  told  Roberts  that  she  could  tell  students  "something 
was  wrong"  with  a  particular  question  if  she  noticed  they  answered  it  incorrectly. 

Former  Principal  Robinson  told  teachers  that  if  a  certain  number  of  students  did  not  pass 
the  CRCT  then  the  teachers  would  be  placed  on  a  PDP. 

8.  Stephanie  Englert  (Teacher) 

Stephanie  Englert  admitted  to  prompting  her  students  to  change  their  answers  during  the 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT. 

In  2003,  Gwendolyn  Alston  had  a  copy  of  that  year's  CRCT,  and  showed  it  to  Englert 
and  others. 

During  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT,  a  student  told  Englert  that  his  former 
teacher,  Idalina  Couto,  told  students  they  answered  a  question  incorrectly  on  the  2008  CRCT  by 
"popping  them  in  the  head." 

During  the  week  of  CRCT  testing  in  2009,  while  Englert  was  working  late,  a 
paraprofessional  asked  if  she  could  borrow  some  erasers  for  Judy  Walker  and  Nneka  Reynolds. 
Englert  reported  that  it  was  unusual  for  Walker  and  Reynolds  to  work  on  anything  without  her 
because  they  were  teammates.  Reynolds  rarely  worked  late,  and  the  fourth  grade  students 
performed  better  on  the  CRCT  than  she  expected  in  2009. 

9.  Ayana  Townsend  (Teacher) 

Ayana  Townsend  reported  that  she  did  not  administer  the  reading  section  of  the  2009 
CRCT  (for  which  she  was  flagged)  because  she  was  out  of  town.  Several  of  her  students  asked 
for  help  on  the  2009  CRCT  and  acted  confused  when  she  did  not  provide  assistance. 

Townsend  heard  that  the  first  grade  teachers  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  also 
testified  that  the  skills  and  abilities  of  her  fourth  grade  students  did  not  match  their  high  third 
grade  CRCT  scores. 

Principal  Woolfolk  threatened  to  place  teachers  on  PDPs  if  their  CRCT  scores  did  not 
improve.  She  had  been  directed  by  "her  boss"  to  do  so. 

10.  Dorris  Freeman  (Substitute) 

Dorris  Freeman  administered  the  2009  CRCT  Reading  section  to  Ayana  Townsend's 
students.  Freeman  had  no  knowledge  of  cheating,  and  stated  that  she  would  have  no  motivation 


298 


to  change  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT  because  she  only  substituted  for  Englert  for  one  day  of 
testing. 

11.  Idalina  Couto  (Teacher) 

Idalina  Couto  admitted  to  prompting  students  to  re-read  a  question  when  the  student 
answered  the  question  incorrectly  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  also  admitted  to  re-wording  or 
explaining  questions  that  students  could  not  understand. 

Couto  said  that  Curtis  Gale  prompted  his  students  or  only  read  two  answer  choices  when 
administering  the  CRCT. 

12.  Stephanie  Barley  (Teacher) 

Stephanie  Bagley  could  provide  no  explanation  for  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right 
erasures  in  her  classroom.  She  believed  "the  administrators"  may  have  erased  and  changed 
answer  sheets. 

13.  Rose  Logan  (Teacher) 

Rose  Logan  admitted  to  erasing  student  answers  when  the  student  selected  two  answers 
for  a  particular  question.  Logan  also  admitted  that  she  filled  in  the  correct  answer  on  students' 
answer  sheets  when  students  failed  to  answer  a  question  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  felt  pressure  to 
increase  her  CRCT  scores.  Because  she  was  close  to  retirement,  she  did  what  she  was  required 
to  do  to  keep  her  job.  Logan  says  that  she  never  actually  changed  any  student's  answer  on  the 
2009  CRCT. 

C.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Precious  Moon  (Teacher) 

Precious  Moon  could  provide  no  explanation  for  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right 
erasures  in  her  classroom.  She  described  a  previous  OIR  investigation  regarding  her  giving 
answers  to  a  student  during  a  previous  CRCT.  Moon  stated  she  was  investigated  and  cleared  by 
OIR. 

2.  Corliss  Love  (Teacher) 

Corliss  Love  admitted  to  prompting  students  to  change  their  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 
She  now  realizes  her  prompting  was  a  testing  violation. 

3.  Curtis  Gale  (Teacher) 

Curtis  Gale  admitted  to  prompting  his  students  to  change  answers  during  the 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT,  and  in  other  years,  by  using  voice  inflection.  Gale  also 
admitted  that  he  only  read  two  answer  choices,  omitting  the  third.  Gale  further  admitted  that  in 
2009  and  other  years,  when  his  students  completed  their  tests,  he  would  scan  the  tests  and  erase 
and  change  wrong  answers. 


299 


Gale  erased  and  changed  answers  in  the  conference  room  when  the  tests  were  returned 
during  the  time  teachers  were  supposed  to  be  cleaning  up  "stray  marks"  on  the  CRCT.  Gale 
erased  and  changed  answers  when  other  teachers  and  the  testing  coordinator  were  present.  Gale 
did  not  see  any  other  teacher  erase  or  change  answers  during  the  stray  mark  cleaning  session,  but 
was  focused  on  his  own  tests. 

Gale  prompted  his  students  and  erased  and  changed  their  answer  sheets  because  he  felt 
pressure  from  former  Principal  Robinson  and  current  Principal  Woolfolk  to  improve  his  CRCT 
scores.  He  feared  he  would  lose  his  job  if  his  CRCT  scores  did  not  improve. 

4.  Sedric  Scott  (Math  Coach) 

Sedric  Scott  originally  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating.  After  he  took  and  failed  a 
polygraph  examination,  however,  he  confessed  to  erasing  and  changing  answers  on  students' 
CRCT  answer  sheets,  and  to  prompting  students  to  change  incorrect  answers  on  the  CRCT. 
Scott  showed  signs  of  deception  by  responding  negatively  to  three  questions  during  his 
polygraph  examination:  Have  you  ever  instructed  anyone  to  change  any  answers  on  a  CRCT? 
Have  you  ever  personally  changed  any  answer  on  a  CRCT?  Have  you  ever  knowingly  allowed 
anyone  to  change  an  answer  on  the  CRCT? 

5.  Andrea  Johnson  Lewis  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Andrea  Lewis  stated  that  Gwendolyn  Alston,  Sedric  Scott,  and  Petrina  Howard  assisted 
her  during  the  2009  CRCT.  Alston  and  Howard  passed  out,  and  accepted  the  return  of,  CRCT 
materials  for  the  first  and  second  grades.  Lewis  and  Scott  passed  out,  and  accepted  the  return  of, 
CRCT  materials  for  the  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grades.  The  two  teams  sat  in  separate  conference 
rooms.  The  tests  were  stored  in  the  principal's  office  after  they  were  returned  by  the  teachers. 
No  teachers  picked  up  their  tests  early  or  turned  them  in  late.  While  former  Principal  Robinson 
allowed  teachers  to  erase  stray  marks  together  in  a  conference  room,  Principal  Woolfolk  would 
not. 

Only  Principal  Woolfolk  and  her  secretary,  Kandis  Hendrix,  had  a  key  to  the  principal's 

office. 

6.  Margul  Retha  Woolfolk  (Principal) 

Principal  Woolfolk  had  no  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  received  one 
report  of  a  teacher  cheating,  but  that  teacher  was  cleared  after  an  APS  investigation.  The  parent 
of  a  student  reported  that  Precious  Moon  assisted  her  students  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal 
Woolfolk  immediately  mailed  a  letter  to  Lester  McKee  informing  him  of  the  allegation  against 
Moon.  A  copy  of  that  letter  is  included  as  Attachment  A. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Curtis  Gale,  Corliss  Love,  Precious  Moon,  Sedric  Scott,  Idalina  Couto 
and  Rose  Logan  cheated  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and  in  other  years. 


300 


Based  on  the  statistical  evidence  and  the  evidence  we  have  found  at  schools  with  similar 
statistical  data,  we  believe  that  other  flagged  teachers  also  cheated,  but  we  lack  sufficient 
evidence  to  determine  which  additional  teachers  cheated. 

We  do  not  believe  that  Principal  Woolfolk  condoned  or  knew  of  cheating  at  M.  Agnes 
Jones.  The  only  time  cheating  was  reported  to  her,  she  immediately  alerted  OIR  and  Lester 
McKee. 


301 


Margdl  Retha  Woolfolk 


Principal 
M.  Agnes  Jones  Elementary 


L 040  fair  Street,  SW 
Atlanta,  Georgea  303 14 
Phdne  (404)  802-3900 
FAX  (404)  752-5655 


May  21,2009 


Mr.  Lester  McKee, 

I  would  like  to  inform  you  of  a  complaint  that  I  received  from  Ms.  Montgomery-Dent 
the  mother  of  Kayla  Dent,  on  Thursday,  May  21 , 2009  at  approximately  2:00  p.m.  Ms. 
Montgomery-Dent  alleged  the  following  against  her  child's  5th  grade  teacher,  Mrs. 
Precious  Moon: 

•  Students  were  given  answers  by  the  teacher  on  the  CRCT 

•  A  student  was  advised  to  change  his  answer  on  the  test 

•  Students  were  told  to  bubble  anything  on  the  science  portion  of  the  test  and  she 
would  change  the  answers  later 

Due  to  the  severify  of  these  allegations,  I  felt  it  necessary  to  report  the  matter  to  you 
immediately  as  well  as  the  Office  of  Internal  Resolutions. 
Ms.  Montgomery  Denf  s  phone  number  is  1-21 6-374-71 30 
Sincerely, 

Margul  Retha  Woolfolk 


Principal 


Cc:    Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 


Ms.  Colinda  Howard 


lu-uilu-^-u 


EXHIBIT 


302 


PARKS  IDE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


685  Mercer  St.  Principal:  Dr.  Phillip  Luck  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30312  Testing  Coordinator:  Clementine  Shanks 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Parkside  Elementary  in  2009.  Sixteen  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Three  teachers  confessed  to  cheating. 
Cheating  at  Parkside  is  evidenced  by  confessions. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

21.3 

4.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

16 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

7(5) 

3(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.1 

4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

9.5 

4.9 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.3 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Selena  Wyatt  (Teacher) 

Selena  Wyatt  confessed  to  prompting  students  to  change  their  answers.  If  Wyatt  felt  like 
the  students  were  not  focusing  or  were  getting  obvious  questions  wrong,  she  said  "listen  again" 
and  she  re-read  the  question.  She  often  saw  students  erase  their  answers  when  she  did  this. 
Wyatt  only  did  this  on  the  math  section  of  the  test. 

2.  Pelita  Johnson  Meredith  (Teacher) 

Pelita  Johnson  Meredith  taught  third  grade  in  2009  and  confessed  to  prompting  her 
students  when  they  answered  incorrectly.  As  Meredith  walked  around  monitoring  her  class,  if 
she  noticed  they  had  an  incorrect  answer,  she  pointed  to  the  test  question.  Her  students 
understood  that  they  needed  to  erase  that  particular  answer.  She  did  not  tell  them  the  correct 
answer. 

Meredith  sometimes  questioned  the  validity  of  students'  CRCT  scores  when  they 
transferred  to  Parkside  from  another  school.  Transfer  students'  test  scores  often  did  not  match 
their  ability  in  the  classroom.  She  specifically  identified  students  from  Deerwood  Academy. 


303 


3.        Terance  Shipman  (Teacher) 


Terance  Shipman  taught  second  grade  in  2009  and  confessed  to  prompting  students 
during  the  CRCT.  If  he  noticed  a  student  answered  a  question  incorrectly  he  sometimes 
reminded  them  to  go  back  and  review  the  question.  Shipman  never  gave  the  students  the 
answers.  Shipman  discussed  various  ways  to  prompt  students  with  teachers  Selena  Wyatt  and 
Tamara  Sparks. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Selena  Wyatt,  Pelita  Meredith,  and  Terance  Shipman  cheated  on  the 
2009  CRCT  by  prompting  their  students  to  change  answers  during  the  administration  of  the  2009 
CRCT.  Principal  Phillip  Luck  did  not  know  of  the  cheating  at  Parkside  Elementary. 


304 


BETHUNE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


220  Northside  Drive  Principal:  RoseMary  Hamer  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314  Testing  Coordinator:  Aretha  Ragland 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Bethune  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirty  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating 
is  evidenced  by  a  high  number  of  flagged  classrooms,  confessions  and  witness  testimony. 
Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

23.1 

3.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

18 

2 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

13(4) 

1 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

4.2 

5.6 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

6.8 

7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

4.3 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

One  teacher  confessed  to  prompting  students  by  reading  questions  a  third  time  and 
rephrasing  them  to  assist  her  students'  comprehension.  A  second  teacher  confessed  to  prompting 
her  students  by  reading  questions  a  third  time  if  they  missed  the  question  or  fell  behind. 

Bethune  met  AYP  consistently  for  years,  but  the  percentage  of  students  meeting  and 
exceeding  standards  steadily  dropped.  Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  was  under  constant  scrutiny 
and  pressure  from  her  SRT  Director  to  meet  district  targets.  As  a  result,  pressure  was  passed 
down  to  the  teachers.  One  teacher  described  it  as  "a  culture  of  pressure"  to  meet  targets. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Angela  Gardner  (Teacher) 

Angela  Gardner  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  prompting  students  during 
testing.  Gardner  walked  around  the  class  and  if  she  noticed  that  several  students  had  missed  the 
same  question  she  would  go  to  the  front  of  the  class  and  read  the  question  a  third  time.  She 
sometimes  rephrased  the  question.  As  a  result  of  her  actions,  many  of  Gardner's  students  erased 
and  changed  their  answers  from  wrong  to  right. 


305 


2.        Holly  Thomas  (Teacher) 


Holly  Thomas  was  a  special  education  teacher  for  kindergarten  and  first  grade  in  2009. 
Thomas  admitted  to  causing  the  students  to  erase  and  change  their  answers  from  wrong  to  right. 
During  the  2009  CRCT,  Thomas  administered  the  test  to  eight  special  education  students.  All 
eight  passed  the  test.  If  she  noticed  students  worked  ahead,  she  would  make  them  erase  the 
answers  and  only  select  answers  after  she  read  them  the  question.  If  she  noticed  that  a  student 
had  fallen  behind,  she  would  read  the  question  to  the  student  a  third  time.  If  she  noticed,  while 
walking  around  the  classroom,  that  a  number  of  students  had  missed  a  question  then  she  would 
read  it  a  third  time. 

Thomas  had  two  particularly  bright  students  who  would  sometimes  shout  out  the  answers 
to  the  test  questions.  The  other  students  knew  those  two  were  bright  and  would  erase  and  change 
their  answers  to  what  was  shouted  out.  Thomas  said  that  happened  "a  lot."  A  third  child  was 
particularly  good  at  math  and  he  only  shouted  out  answers  during  the  math  section. 

There  was  a  culture  of  pressure  on  the  teachers.  Principal  Hamer  never  said  or  did 
anything  inappropriate  as  far  as  putting  pressure  on  teachers  but  if  a  teacher's  class  did  not  do 
well  it  reflected  badly  on  the  teacher. 

3.        Sandra  Wilson  (Teacher) 

Sandra  Wilson  was  a  third  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  denied  cheating.  She  resigned 
from  Bethune  due  to  harassment  from  Principal  Hamer  about  low  test  scores  on  the  2009  CRCT. 
Her  students  were  performing  below  grade  level  when  they  were  assigned  to  her  class.  Principal 
Hamer  told  Wilson  she  "needed  to  do  whatever  she  had  to  do  to  make  sure  the  kids  were  going 
to  pass."  She  was  never  explicitly  told  to  cheat,  but  the  message  was  clear  to  her.  Others  on  the 
third  grade  level  conveyed  similar  messages.  She  was  frustrated  and  told  them  she  was  not 
going  to  cheat.  She  knew  she  had  the  lowest  test  scores  in  the  school  but  her  students  did  the 
best  they  could.  Wilson  said  she  did  not  cheat  and  was  ostracized  at  the  school. 

When  questioned  about  specific  students  with  improbable  wrong-to-right  erasures  on  the 
math  section,  Wilson  was  shocked.  One  child,  who  had  ten  out  of  11  erasures  changed  from 
wrong  to  right,  was  identified  as  a  special  education  student  who  Wilson  did  not  believe  erased 
at  all.  She  recalled  that  he  had  emotional  issues  and  just  "shut  down,"  and  probably  did  not 
finish  the  test.  Another  student,  who  had  five  out  of  five  erasures  changed  from  wrong  to  right, 
was  also  a  special  education  student  who  Wilson  believed  could  not  have  made  those  erasures. 
Wilson  tested  both  students  with  the  entire  class;  they  were  not  pulled  out  for  separate  testing. 
Wilson  said  about  half  of  her  third  grade  class  performed  at  a  kindergarten  level  and  could  barely 
read. 

Principal  Hamer  "hammered"  the  teachers  about  test  scores  in  meetings.  She  grilled 
them  about  their  scores  on  the  benchmark  tests  which  Wilson  recalled  were  "awful,  just  awful  .  . 
.  .  really  terrible."  By  the  time  they  took  the  CRCT,  everyone's  scores  suddenly  improved 
except  Wilson's,  which  remained  just  as  they  were  on  the  diagnostic  tests.  Some  of  the  teachers 
on  her  grade  level  had  students  that  performed  as  poorly  as  Wilson's,  yet  passed  the  CRCT. 
Wilson  felt  certain  that  she  was  the  only  teacher  who  had  valid  scores,  and  she  suspected 


306 


cheating  but  had  no  proof.  Principal  Hamer  "called  her  out"  in  front  of  everyone  because  of  her 
test  scores.  Wilson  said  that  "if  you  didn't  dance  their  dance  and  do  what  they  want  you  to  do, 
whether  it  was  right  or  wrong — they  didn't  like  you  and  they  would  try  to  harass  and  intimidate 
you." 

Money  was  a  motivation  for  doing  well.  Wilson  heard  Principal  Hamer  say  that  she 
knew  they  were  looking  forward  to  getting  their  check  and  she  (Hamer)  was  looking  forward  to 
getting  hers  too.  Wilson  was  not  surprised  to  learn  that  APS  was  being  investigated  for  cheating. 
She  felt  there  were  well-qualified  teachers  at  Bethune  but  their  focus  was  not  on  the  children. 

4.  Alexandra  Pajak  (Teacher) 

Alexandra  Pajak  was  a  program  coordinator  at  Bethune  in  2009.  She  was  assigned  to 
Bethune  through  a  program  called  Community  in  Schools.  Her  responsibility  was  to  monitor 
attendance.  Pajak  left  Bethune  because  the  work  environment  was  "toxic."  Pajak  gave 
investigators  a  document  she  had  prepared  for  the  interview.  A  copy  of  the  document  is  included 
as  Attachment  A.  The  document  includes  the  following  information: 

a.  Principal  Hamer  told  the  teachers  at  a  staff  meeting  in  November 
2010  that  the  GBI  would  be  coming  to  interview  them,  that  they 
would  have  a  gun  in  their  pocket,  that  they  would  try  to  intimidate 
them  at  their  interview,  and  that  teachers  could  choose  what  to  tell 
them. 

b.  In  September  2010,  administrative  assistant  Djuana  Edmond  told 
Pajack,  "It  wasn't  the  teachers  that  cheated  at  this  school.  The 
administration  really  dodged  a  bullet  [during  first  round  of 
interviews].  I  didn't  cheat  and  they're  not  interviewing  me,  so  I'm 
not  saying  anything." 

c.  On  May  5,  2010,  Principal  Hamer  withdrew  students  who  missed 
ten  or  more  days  of  school  in  order  to  meet  APS  attendance 
targets,  and  allowed  students  who  lived  outside  of  the  zone  to 
remain  at  school  as  long  as  their  test  scores  and  attendance  were 
strong. 

5.  Aretha  Ragland  (Assistant  Principal  &  Testing  Coordinator) 

Aretha  Ragland  was  the  assistant  principal  and  testing  coordinator  in  2009.  She  had  no 
information  or  knowledge  of  testing  improprieties. 

6.  Brenda  Rattler  (Teacher) 

Brenda  Rattler  was  surprised  over  the  years  by  children  she  believed  would  not  perform 
well.  She  attributed  their  unexpected  success  to  them  "taking  their  time." 


307 


7. 


Charice  Coston  (Teacher) 


Charice  Coston  was  a  fifth  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  was  on  maternity  leave  during  the 
2008-2009  school  year  and  was  not  present  to  administer  the  2009  CRCT  to  her  class. 


Stanley  was  a  second  grade  teacher  in  2009.  She  denied  cheating  or  knowledge  of 
cheating.  Stanley  said  she  never  erased  anything  on  her  students'  tests,  not  even  stray  marks.  At 
no  time  have  teachers  erased  stray  marks.  They  tell  their  students  to  erase  them.  Stanley  recalled 
that  she  had  four  or  five  students  in  2009  who  received  extra  tutoring  from  Traci  Walker,  a 
special  education  teacher.  She  believed  those  students  may  have  been  tested  separately  by  other 
teachers. 

C.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 


RoseMary  Hamer  was  the  principal  of  Bethune  in  2009.  She  stated  that  the  school  has 
met  AYP  for  so  many  years  that  although  they  did  not  technically  meet  AYP  in  2010,  Bethune 
was  "deemed"  to  have  met  AYP  "by  confidence."  Principal  Hamer  attributed  the  drop  in  flagged 
classes  in  2010  to  the  students  being  afraid  to  erase.  She  has  been  principal  of  Bethune  for  ten 
years,  and  has  met  the  district  targets  only  a  few  times.  Last  year  she  was  placed  on  a  PDP  by 
SRT-4  Executive  Director  Sharon  Davis-Williams  for  low  test  scores,  which  she  felt  was  unfair. 
Principal  Hamer  said  she  wanted  to  make  targets,  but  did  not  feel  pressure  to  do  so.  Asked  if  the 
teachers  felt  pressure  about  meeting  targets,  Principal  Hamer  said  they  "probably"  did. 

The  tests  were  locked  in  the  vault  to  which  only  she,  the  secretary  and  Testing 
Coordinator  Aretha  Ragland  had  a  key.  Teachers  could  collect  their  tests  between  7:30  and  8:00 
a.m.  The  tests  were  passed  out  and  collected  in  the  media  center.  Principal  Hamer  said  they  did 
not  erase  stray  marks.  She  was  not  aware  of  any  cheating  allegations  at  Bethune,  but  was 
confident  that  any  allegations  that  were  reported  would  be  thoroughly  investigated  by  APS.  She 
was  not  aware  of  students  shouting  out  answers  in  class  during  2009  testing.  She  would  be 
surprised  to  learn  that  teachers  at  Bethune  admitted  to  cheating. 

Regarding  former  teacher  Sandra  Wilson,  Principal  Hamer  stated  that  Wilson  was  at 
Bethune  for  one  year  and  was  not  a  great  teacher.  Hamer  thought  that  Wilson's  students  were 
not  progressing  at  the  pace  they  should  have  been.  Principal  Hamer  felt  that  her  third  grade 
teachers  were  not  a  "solid  group  of  teachers"  in  2009.  She  would  not  have  wanted  Wilson  to 
remain  on  the  third  grade  level. 

D.       Other  Evidence 


8. 


Lisa  Stanley  (Teacher) 


1. 


RoseMary  Hamer  (Principal) 


In  2007-2008  and  2008-2009,  Bethune  met  AYP. 


In  2009-2010,  Bethune  met  AYP.  The  school's  status  dropped  from 
"Distinguished"  to  "Adequate."  The  percentage  of  students  not  meeting 
standards  increased  by  6%  . 


308 


•        In  2010,  teachers  did  not  gather  to  erase  stray  marks  as  they  had  in  prior 
years. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  at  Bethune.  Angela  Gardner 
encouraged  her  second  grade  students  to  erase  and  change  answers  from  wrong  to  right  by 
rephrasing  questions  or  reading  them  a  third  time.  Holly  Thomas  prompted  her  special  education 
students  by  reading  questions  a  third  time  if  several  had  missed  the  question  or  fell  behind. 

Principal  Hamer  pressured  teachers  to  "do  what  you  need  to  do"  to  raise  the  test  scores. 
She  created  an  atmosphere  where  teachers  felt  it  was  necessary  to  cheat.  Principal  RoseMary 
Hamer  failed  in  her  ultimate  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the  ethical 
administration  of,  and  proper  securing  for  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  our  conclusion,  from  the 
statistical  data  and  the  other  evidence,  that  Principal  Hamer  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009 
CRCT,  and  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This  resulted  in,  and  she  is 
responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the  results  of  the  2009 
CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


309 


Alexandra  Pajak 
Interview,  April  5,  2011 
Documentation 


Directly  Related  to  CRCT 

-On  November  23,  2010  Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  called  a  staff  meeting  in  the 
media  center  at  Gethune  Elementary  School.  She  tofd  staff  members,  "The  GBI 
will  be  coming  to  the  school.  They'll  walking  like  this  with  their  arm  over  their 
packet  [demonstrated  walking  with  arm  over  pocket].  They'll  have  a  gun  in  their 
pocket.  They'll  try  to  intimidate  you  when  they  interview  you.  And  you  can 
choose  what  to  tell  them." 

-September  2010,  Administrative  Assistant  Djuana  Edmond  told  me,  "ft  wasn't 
the  teachers  that  cheated  at  this  school.  The  administration  really  dodged  a 
bullet  [during  first  round  of  interviews).  I  didn't  cheat  and  they're  not  interviewing 
me,  so  I'm  not  saying  anything." 

-May  5,  2010:  Principal  withdraws  students  who  miss  10  or  mom  days  of  school 
to  meet  APS  Attendance  Target.  Principal  allows  students  to  remain  at  the 
school  If  out  of  zone  as  long  as  their  rest  scores  and  attendance  are  strong. 

-Spring  2010  The  day  the  CRCT  tests  arrived  to  Bethune,  an  Administrative 
Team  Meeting  was  held  (already  scheduled  on  calendar)  in  the  front  office 
conference  room,  i  presented  my  attendance  data.  The  other  people  present 
(Principal  RoseMary  Hamer,  Counselor  Tamtka  Witcher,  ILS  staff  member 
Stephanie  Renfroe,  Reading  Coach  Melanie  Searcy,  and  Success  for  All  coach 
Alicia  Walton)  looked  [in  my  opinion]  very  nervous  and  scared.  When  I  finished 
with  my  data,  Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  said  to  me,  "You  can  decide  to  stay  or 
leave  the  meeting  now."  I  left  the  meeting.  The  meeting  (which  usually  lasted 
about  an  hour)  lasted  four  hours  that  day. 


Behavior  of  Administration 

-January  6,  2010:  While  Principal  out  of  the  building,  I  was  "mobbed''  by 
administrative  team.  I  was  called  into  a  meeting  by  ILS  staff  member  Stephanie 
Renfroe.  The  group  of  women  began  to  shout  at  me,  telling  me  if  I  did  not  do  as 
they  said  (to  take  a  lunch  monitor  slot  the  principal  told  me  not  to)  they  would  tell 
the  principal  I'm  not  "a  team  player."  I  walked  out  of  the  meeting.  I  informed  the 
principal  of  the  situation  on  January  6,  2010  in  the  main  hallway  when  she 
returned  to  the  building.  She  rolled  her  eyes  and  said,  "I  don't  want  this  drama, " 
and  walked  away.  I  complained  to  my  supervisor,  who  held  a  meeting  with  the 
principal  on  January  12,  201 1;  Ms.  Renfroe  continued  to  shout  at  me,  accusing 
me  of  shouting  while  in  the  meting  in  which  I  was  mobbed.  Principal  did  not  ask 
Ms.  Renfroe  to  lower  her  voice.  The  principal  asked  me  (in  my  opinion,  oddly), 


10-0110-25-11  «■«* 


310 


why  I  did  not  (the  the  school  counselor,  Tamika  Witcher.  I  told  her  that  in 
Summer  2009  the  counselor  told  a  student  who  was  seen  by  the  school  social 
worker  for  stab  wounds,  "I  should  put  you  on  hotghertDmess.com,*  after  the 
student  told  her  he  had  pet  rotweilers  at  home.  The  principal  than  said,  "That 
isn't  leaving  this  room."  (1  had  informed  my  then  supervisor  of  the  comment  the 
day  of  the  comment  in  2009.) 

-November  12,  2010  Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  opened  and  shut  the  door 
halfway  and  I  assumed  it  was  a  kid  (I  couldn't  see  anyone  outside  the  little 
window  part  on  the  door,  so  I  assumed  it  was  a  tiny  kid  that  had  trouble  opening 
the  door  and  would  reopen  it).  The  principal  walked  in  and  said,  "You  should 
have  looked  up.  I  could  have  been  a  sniper.  You  should  be  more  careful"  to  the 
attendance  clerk,  Mr.  Cabral  Williams,  and  ma 

-April  20,  2010  a  fifth  grader  skipped  school.  Principal  RoseMary  Hamer  told  ILS 
staff  member  Ms.  Stephanie  Renfroe  that  if  the  student  tries  to  skip  school,  "Tell 
her  [the  student]  will  have  the  student  handcuffed  and  taken  away  from  the 
school  in  a  police  car." 

-On  September  29, 2^f'the  Principal  refused  to  give  me  space  to  store  food 
after  I  told  her  I  was  asked  not  to  write  a  press  release  for  the  Blessings  in  a 
Backpack  program  until  Spring  semester. 


-  September  29,  201 1  a  parent  came  in  with  a  yellow  shirt  that  had  pencil  marks 
on  it.  The  parent  said  two  to  three  boys  had  thrown  glass  bottles  at  his  daughter 
on  the  way  home  from  school  and  that  the  pencil  marks  were  where  the  boys 
stabbed  her  with  a  pencil.  The  principal  did  not  suspend  any  of  the  students. 
Once  the  parent  and  students  left  the  front  office,  the  principal  said,  "I  might  call 
the  police  on  them,"  referring  to  two  brothers  (one  eight  years  old  and  another 
ten  years  old)  to  discipline  them  for  throwing  bottles  and  stabbing  the  girl  with  a 
pencil. 


10-011 0-25 -H  £XHIB,T  » 


311 


MILES  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


4215  Bakers  Ferry  Road,  SW  Principal:  Christopher  Estes  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30331  Testing  Coordinator:  Shuanta  Broadway 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Miles  Elementary  in  2009.  Thirteen  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating 
at  Miles  is  evidenced  by  confessions  and  witness  testimony. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

21.7 

2.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

13 

2 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

6(5) 

1(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.1 

3.8 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

9.8 

4.4 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.3 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Rae  Debose-Douglas  (Teacher) 

Rae  Debose-Douglas  recalled  that  teachers  complained  that  their  students'  skills  and 
abilities  did  not  match  their  high  scores  on  prior  CRCT  tests. 

Testing  Coordinator  Shuanta  Broadway  once  commented  that  she  had  to  review  each 
student's  CRCT  answer  sheet  to  make  sure  they  answered  the  majority  of  the  questions. 

2.  Shondra  Etheridge  (Teacher) 

Shondra  Etheridge  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating,  but  admitted  that  based  on  the 
statistical  data,  someone  tampered  with  her  tests.  She  heard  of  teachers  using  voice  inflection  to 
prompt  students. 

3.  Tillian  Williams  (Teacher) 

Lillian  Williams  admitted  that  she  prompted  students  using  voice  inflection,  and  that  her 
voice  inflection  could  have  caused  the  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  in  her  classroom  on  the  2009 
CRCT. 


312 


4.        Kiatonya  Wormley  (Teacher) 


Kiatonya  Wormley  admitted  that  she  erased  the  incorrect  answer  choice  when  students 
filled  in  one  or  more  bubbles  on  the  CRCT.  She  denied  any  further  knowledge  of  cheating. 

5.  Sabrina  Claude  (Teacher) 

Sabrina  Claude  heard  that  Debose-Douglas  obtained  a  copy  of  the  CRCT  from  another 
district,  and  used  it  to  cheat  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

Claude  identified  a  student  in  her  classroom  in  2010  that  told  her  Lillian  Williams  gave 
the  student  answers  during  the  2009  CRCT. 

6.  Temica  Bell  (Teacher) 

Temica  Bell  taught  the  daughter  of  fellow  teacher  Lakeisha  Davis.  That  student  told 
Temica  Bell  that  she  recognized  a  reading  passage  on  the  2009  CRCT  because  she  had  studied  it 
the  previous  night.  Lakeisha  Davis  was  friends  with  Rae  Debose-Douglas  and  Lori  McAdoo, 
both  flagged  teachers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

7.  Lakeisha  Davis  (Teacher) 

Lakeisha  Davis  stated  that  her  daughter  studied  a  CRCT  coaching  book  that  Lakeisha 
Davis  borrowed  from  Miles  Elementary,  and  denied  Temica  Bell's  assertion  that  the  book  was  a 
copy  of  the  2009  CRCT. 

Davis  admitted  to  instructing  her  students  to  re-read  a  question  when  she  noticed  they  had 
selected  a  wrong  answer,  and  says  this  prompting  could  have  accounted  for  the  high  number  of 
wrong-to-right  erasures  in  her  classroom  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

8.  Lori  McAdoo  (Teacher) 

Lori  McAdoo  denied  all  knowledge  of  cheating,  and  denied  possessing  a  copy  of  the 

CRCT. 

9.  Shuanta  Broadway  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Shuanta  Broadway  testified  that  only  Principal  Estes  and  she  had  keys  to  the  area  where 
the  tests  were  kept.  The  first  and  second  grade  teachers  were  permitted  to  clean  stray  marks 
from  their  testing  materials,  but  the  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  grade  teachers  were  not.  She  denied 
telling  Rae  Debose-Douglas  that  she  checked  to  make  sure  the  students  filled  in  the  majority  of 
their  answers  on  their  answer  sheets.  Broadway  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  2009 
CRCT  or  in  any  other  year. 

10.  Christopher  Estes  (Principal) 

Principal  Estes  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  at  Miles. 


313 


IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Lakeisha  Davis,  Kiatonya  Wormley  and  Lillian  Williams  cheated  on 
the  2009  CRCT.  We  also  conclude  that  Principal  Estes  did  not  know  cheating  occurred  on  the 
2009  CRCT. 


314 


GROVE  PARK  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


20  Evelyn  Way  Principal:  Caitlyn  Sims  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Derick  Brown 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Grove  Park  Elementary  in  2009.  Seven  people  were 
interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Grove  Park  is  evidenced  by  two 
confessions  and  witness  testimony. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

20 

4.5 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

15 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

7(5) 

3 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.5 

3.9 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

15.8 

4.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

The  weight  of  the  evidence  indicates  that  cheating  occurred  in  classrooms  by  teachers. 
Two  teachers  confessed  to  prompting  their  students  to  erase  and  change  their  answers  from 
wrong  to  right.  First  grade  teacher  Allison  Tollman  cheated  by  prompting  her  students  through 
voice  inflection  and  stressing  key  words  when  reading  questions  and  answers,  and  by  reading 
questions  a  third  time.  Fifth  grade  teacher  Beverly  Shanks  prepared  her  students  a  week  before 
testing  to  watch  for  her  verbal  and  non-verbal  cues  during  testing.  If  she  noticed  a  student  with  a 
wrong  answer,  she  would  look  away  from  the  student  and  tell  the  class  to  check  their  answers. 

We  could  not  locate  Testing  Coordinator  Derick  Brown  for  an  interview. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Caitlyn  Sims  (Principal) 

Caitlyn  Sims'  first  year  as  principal  at  Grove  Park  was  2009.  She  had  no  explanation  for 
the  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  in  her  school.  Principal  Sims  feels  that  the  target  system  at  APS 
was  very  difficult  and  created  a  great  deal  of  pressure  and  intimidation.  She  stated  that  instead  of 
celebrating  a  school's  accomplishments,  APS  constantly  ranks  and  reminds  schools  of  how 
"low"  they  are  and  that  they  didn't  meet  the  targets.  Additionally,  principals  are  constantly 
reminded  that  evaluations  are  based  on  whether  you  make  targets.  She  felt  that  targets  were 
"statistically  inappropriate"  and  that  the  system  was  like  a  house  of  cards. 


315 


Principal  Sims  was  placed  on  a  PDP  by  her  SRT-4  Executive  Director,  Tamara  Cotman. 
Principal  Sims  knew  that  she  had  not  met  her  targets  but  was  surprised  by  the  PDP  because  she 
had  received  commendations  in  other  areas.  Cotman  told  her,  "Based  on  your  test  scores, 
obviously  you  weren't  really  doing  enough  with  your  staff." 

2.  Allison  Tollman  (Teacher) 

Allison  Tollman  admitted  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  prompting  students  and 
causing  them  to  erase  and  change  answers  from  wrong  to  right.  Tollman  also  stated  that  she 
sometimes  read  the  question  a  third  time  and  stressed  a  portion  of  the  question.  She  never  gave 
students  the  correct  answer.  She  believed  that  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures  could 
have  been  caused  by  her  voice  inflection  when  she  read  the  answer  choices  a  third  time. 

Tollman  stated  that  she  felt  pressure  to  improve  her  students'  scores  from  the  "system" 
and  administration.  She  felt  that  the  former  principal,  Dr.  Paula  Snowden,  applied  more  pressure 
with  respect  to  scores.  Tollman  added  that  teachers  did  not  gather  to  erase  stray  marks  in  2009 
but  had  done  so  in  previous  years. 

3.  Beverly  Shanks  (Teacher) 

Beverly  Shanks  was  flagged  in  reading  and  math  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures. 
Shanks  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT.  She  said  that  one  week  prior  to  the  CRCT,  she 
instructed  her  students  that  if  she  told  them  to  check  their  answers  during  the  test,  they  had  a 
wrong  answer  and  needed  to  review  the  question  and  answer  choices  again.  She  did  not  provide 
those  instructions  on  test  days  because  she  was  afraid  of  being  overheard  on  the  intercom. 
During  the  test,  if  she  noticed  an  incorrect  answer  on  a  student's  answer  sheet,  she  would  look 
away  from  the  student  and  tell  the  class  they  needed  to  check  their  answers.  She  never  directly 
told  a  student  to  check  his  or  her  answer.  Shanks  admitted  she  did  this  numerous  times  while  the 
students  were  testing.  She  believed  it  would  explain  the  high  number  of  wrong-to-right  erasures 
in  her  class. 

She  heard  of  others  cheating  on  the  CRCT  by  assisting  students  with  answers  and  erasing 
and  changing  answers  on  student  tests. 

4.  Pamela  Lewis  (Teacher) 

Pamela  Lewis  was  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  in  all  subjects.  She  denied 
cheating  and  knowledge  of  cheating.  She  did  not  know  why  her  students  had  high  numbers  of 
wrong-to-right  erasures  because  she  did  not  see  a  lot  of  erasing.  Lewis  reported  a  testing 
irregularity  in  2009.  One  student  read  and  answered  every  question  in  the  reading  section  of  the 
test  before  Lewis  read  them  aloud  to  the  class.  He  filled  in  all  of  the  answer  choices  for  each 
question,  so  Lewis  instructed  him  to  go  back  and  choose  one  answer  per  question. 

5.  Maya  Moore  (Teacher) 

Maya  Moore  was  flagged  in  all  subjects  for  high  wrong-to-right  erasures.  She  stated  that 
she  read  the  question  the  first  time  in  a  monotone  voice,  but  the  second  time  she  read  the 
question  she  might  add  some  inflection  to  her  voice.  Moore's  interview  was  interrupted  while 


316 


she  administered  a  test.  When  the  interview  resumed,  Moore  recanted  some  of  her  statement. 
She  said  the  first  time  she  read  the  question  in  a  normal  tone.  The  second  time  she  added  some 
inflection  to  get  the  students  to  focus.  She  stated  that  she  did  not  do  that  often  on  the  CRCT.  If 
re-reading  the  question  caused  students  to  change  answers  from  wrong  to  right,  it  was  not  her 
intention.  She  felt  that  due  to  the  high  number  of  erasures,  there  may  have  been  "outside  help" 
as  well  as  students  looking  at  each  other's  answers  during  the  test.  She  did  not  believe  her 
actions  could  have  caused  all  the  erasures  in  her  class. 

Moore  added  that  she  was  close  to  the  Testing  Coordinator  in  2009,  Derick  Brown,  and 
thought  he  should  be  interviewed. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Allison  Tollman  and  Beverly  Shanks  cheated  by  prompting  their 
students  during  the  administration  of  the  2009  CRCT.  Principal  Sims  did  not  know  of  cheating 
at  Grove  Park. 


317 


JACKSON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1325  Mt.  Paran  Road  Principal:  Dr.  Lorraine  Reich  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30327  Testing  Coordinator:  Jimmye  Hawkins 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Jackson  Elementary  in  2009.  Jackson  was  not  flagged 
for  having  classrooms  with  higher  wrong-to-right  erasures  than  the  state  mean.  During  the 
course  of  this  investigation,  however,  we  became  aware  of  possible  cheating  at  Jackson  on  the 
2009  CRCT.  Five  people  were  interviewed  at  Jackson  and  two  teachers  confessed  to  cheating. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

3.7 

6.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

4 

7 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

3(1) 

6(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

3.6 

3.5 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

4.8 

4.2 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.1 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Ann  Offen  (Teacher) 

Ann  Offen  admitted  to  prompting  her  students  with  voice  inflection  on  the  2009  CRCT. 
She  explained  that  her  voice  inflection  was  accidental  because  she  read  "dramatically"  to  her 
students  all  year  long.  She  was  "certain"  that  students  "caught  on  to  the  way  I  inflect  my  voice." 
She  further  admitted  that  if  she  noticed  a  student  mark  the  same  answer  choice  over  and  over  she 
would  direct  that  student  to  re-read  the  questions.  She  further  testified  that  she  was  not  surprised 
she  was  flagged,  but  she  was  embarrassed  to  be  flagged. 

2.  Tori  Dewberry  (Teacher) 

Lori  Dewberry  testified  that  she  never  prompted  a  student,  never  suggested  they  re-read  a 
particular  question,  and  never  pointed  to  or  suggested  correct  answers.  Dewberry  stated  that  if 
she  saw  a  student  mark  the  same  answer  choice  over  and  over  she  did  nothing.  Dewberry  stated 
that  she  may  have  unconsciously  prompted  her  students  to  change  answers  on  the  2009  CRCT. 
She  explained  that  she  read  "dramatically"  to  her  students  throughout  the  school  year,  and  may 
have  accidentally  used  voice  inflection  when  reading  the  correct  answer  choices  during  the  2009 
CRCT. 


318 


3.        Lorainne  B.  Reich  (Principal) 


Lorainne  Rech  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  at  Jackson. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

Of  the  three  flagged  teachers  at  Jackson,  two  admitted  they  "accidentally"  used  voice 
inflection  when  reading  the  answer  choices  to  their  students  during  the  2009  CRCT.  We 
conclude  that  Ann  Offen  and  Lori  Dewberry  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT.  We  find  that  Principal 
Reich  did  not  know  of  the  cheating  at  Jackson. 


319 


CLEVELAND  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 

2672  Old  Hapeville  Road  Principal:  Dr.  Rhonda  Ware-Brazier  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30315  Testing  Coordinator:  Lillian  Jackson 


I.        INVESTIGATIVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Cleveland  Elementary  School  in  2009.  Sixteen 
people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once.  Cheating  at  Cleveland  is 
evidenced  by  a  confession. 


II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2011) 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

26.1 

8.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

18 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

10(6) 

3(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.0 

4.2 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

13.8 

5.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.0 

3.8 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

/.       Alvia  Barnett  (Teacher) 

Alvia  Barnett  admitted  to  prompting  students  on  the  2009  CRCT.  Barnett  said  that  if  she 
noticed  that  a  student  answered  a  question  incorrectly  she  told  the  student  to  go  back  and  check 
the  answer.  She  also  rephrased  an  answer  if  she  thought  it  was  a  word  the  student  was  not 
familiar  with. 

Barnett' s  proctor  prompted  students  as  well.  She  read  the  question  again  to  individual 
students,  even  though  Barnett  had  read  the  question  twice.  Barnett  heard  her  proctor  direct 
students  to  go  back  and  check  particular  questions. 

2.        Dr.  Rhonda  Ware-Brazier  (Principal) 

Dr.  Rhonda  Ware-Brazier  denied  knowledge  of  cheating. 

She  brought  in  retired  teachers  to  proctor  during  testing  in  2009.  The  retired  teachers 
erased  stray  marks  on  the  answer  sheets,  but  teachers  did  not. 


320 


3.        Lillian  Jackson  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Lillian  Jackson  was  the  testing  coordinator  in  2009.  She  denied  knowledge  of  cheating. 

Jackson  gave  teachers  an  opportunity  to  erase  stray  marks  for  approximately  five  to  ten 
minutes  after  testing. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  Alvia  Barnett  cheated  on  the  2009  CRCT  by  prompting  students  to 
change  their  answers.  Principal  Ware-Brazier  did  not  know  of  the  cheating  at  this  school. 


321 


ALONZO  A.  CRIM  OPEN  CAMPUS  HIGH  SCHOOL 

256  Clifton  Street  Principal:  Dr.  Angelisa  Cummings  SRT-5  Executive  Director:  Joyce  McCloud 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30317  Testing  Coordinator:  Isabella  Copridge 


T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 


Alonzo  A.  Crim  High  School  had  one  eighth  grade  class.  Three  sections  of  the  CRCT 
were  administered  to  this  single  class.  One  of  those  three  sections  was  flagged,  resulting  in  a 
33%  flag  rate  being  assigned  to  the  school.  This  overall  percentage  was  sufficient  to  put  Crim  in 
the  severe  category  under  the  state's  analysis  even  though  there  was  only  a  single  flagged 
subject.  That  one  flagged  classroom  did  not  justify  investigating  Crim  given  the  scope  of  the 
larger  investigation.  No  one  was  interviewed  with  respect  to  Crim. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

33.3 

0 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

1 

0 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

1 

0 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.2 

0 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

5.2 

0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

5.2 

0 

III.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

There  is  insufficient  evidence  to  make  any  conclusions. 


322 


BENJAMIN  S.  CARSON  PREPARATORY  ACADEMY 


CLOSED  Principal:  Flora  Goolsby  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Testing  Coordinator:  Nelta  Lattimore 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  only  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Benjamin  S. 
Carson  Preparatory  Academy  (Carson)  in  2009.  Twenty-one  people  were  interviewed  at  this 
school,  some  more  than  once. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

30 

N/A 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

9 

N/A 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

5(3) 

N/A 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

4.7 

N/A 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

9.4 

N/A 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

N/A 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

In  2009,  Carson  contained  about  125  eighth  grade  students.  The  sixth  and  seventh  grades 
had  been  moved  to  the  new  BEST  Academy  and  only  the  eighth  grade  remained  on  site  at 
Carson.  The  school  was  a  "Needs  Improvement  Year  8"  school  in  its  final  year  of  existence. 
Principal  Flora  Goolsby  was  assigned  to  Carson  to  help  close  the  school.  A  state  monitor,  Joel 
Standifer,  was  assigned  to  Carson  on  a  full  time  basis.  During  administration  of  the  CRCT,  the 
tests  were  stored  in  Principal  Goolsby' s  office,  locked  in  a  closet.  The  Testing  Coordinator, 
Nelta  Lattimore,  distributed  and  collected  the  tests  from  a  cart  in  the  hallway.  After  testing, 
Lattimore  said  the  tests  were  rolled  back  to  Principal  Goolsby' s  office.  A  witness  claimed  that 
the  tests  were  rolled  into  Lattimore' s  office  and  returned  to  Principal  Goolsby' s  office  at  the  end 
of  each  day. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Arthur  Jones  (Math  Coach) 

Arthur  Jones  taught  at  Benjamin  Carson  in  2009.  He  testified  that  he  believes  the  school 
was  flagged  due  to  the  test-taking  strategies  he  taught.  He  stated  that  he  told  students  that  when 
there  was  not  much  time  that  they  should  mark  "b"  or  "c"  on  the  answer  sheet  and  come  back 
later  and  erase  the  answer  if  they  had  time  to  work  through  the  problem  and  found  that  the 
answer  was  incorrect.  Jones  stated  that  some  of  the  flagged  teachers,  specifically  Ms.  Shorter  and 


323 


Charles  Ball,  would  not  have  the  knowledge  to  change  math  answers  from  wrong  to  right.  He 
claimed  no  knowledge  of  cheating  at  Carson. 

Arthur  Jones  stated  that  any  sixth  grade  teacher  at  an  APS  middle  school  can  tell  you  that 
there  is  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  APS  elementary  schools,  and  it  is  just  accepted  that  the  scores 
are  inflated. 

2.  Charles  Ball  (Teacher) 

Charles  Ball  testified  that  it  was  "common  knowledge"  that  cheating  occurred  in  the 
elementary  schools.  He  stated  that  Arthur  Jones  sometimes  referred  to  himself  as  "Top  Gun" 
and  claimed  to  be  the  best  math  teacher.  Ball's  class  was  flagged  at  6.6  for  high  wrong-to-right 
erasures  on  the  math  portion  of  the  CRCT. 

3.  Jacqueline  Middlebrooks  (Proctor) 

Jacqueline  Middlebrooks  proctored  in  Ms.  Shorter' s  classroom  and  testified  that  Ms. 
Shorter' s  students  were  actually  tested  by  a  gifted  teacher.  Shorter' s  classes  were  flagged  in  all 
three  subject  areas. 

4.  Mary  Gordon  (Teacher) 

Mary  Gordon,  a  former  teacher,  testified  that  having  seen  the  test  scores,  there  was  no 
doubt  there  was  cheating.  She  believed  it  could  not  have  happened  in  the  classroom  due  to  lack 
of  time  and  that  some  teachers  did  not  know  sufficient  math  to  change  the  answers. 

5.  Nelta  Lattimore  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Nelta  Lattimore  testified  that  she  was  a  counselor  assigned  as  testing  coordinator  and  was 
"scared  to  death"  about  anything  going  wrong  with  testing  procedures.  She  stated  that  the  tests 
were  returned  to  a  table  in  the  hallway,  then  were  placed  on  a  cart  that  she  rolled  into  Principal 
Flora  Goolsby's  office.  She  believed  only  the  principal  had  the  key.  Lattimore  did  not  believe 
Principal  Goolsby  or  other  administrators  would  ever  erase  answers. 

6.  Joel  Standi  fer  (State  Monitor) 

Joel  Standifer  was  assigned  to  Carson  as  a  full  time  monitor  for  the  2008-2009  school 
year  by  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education  because  it  was  a  "Needs  Improvement  Year  8" 
school.  The  tests  were  returned  to  a  table  in  the  hall.  They  were  then  rolled  into  Nelta 
Lattimore' s  office  and  then  later  to  the  principal's  office  and  stored  overnight.  He  only  observed 
the  first  day  of  testing. 

7.  Marilyn  Wallace  (Secretary) 

Marilyn  Wallace  was  the  principal's  secretary  and  testified  that  Nelta  Lattimore  brought 
the  tests  to  the  principal's  office  around  3:30  or  4:00  p.m.  She  stated  that  if  there  was  cheating 
on  the  tests  it  had  to  have  happened  while  the  tests  were  in  Lattimore's  office. 


324 


8.        Flora  Goolsby  (Principal) 


Flora  Goolsby  was  assigned  to  Carson  during  the  2008-2009  school  year  to  oversee  the 
closing  of  the  school.  The  school  was  comprised  of  eighth  grade  only,  with  approximately  125 
students.  Many  had  extreme  academic  deficits  or  behavioral  problems.  She  testified  that  the 
teachers  flagged  with  high  wrong-to-right  erasures  were  among  those  she  "inherited"  when  she 
was  assigned  to  the  school  in  2008-2009.  She  stated  that  the  tests  were  locked  in  her  office. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Carson,  30%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard  deviations 
from  the  State  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Five  teachers  had  classes  exceeding  three 
standard  deviations.  Although  we  have  concerns,  the  evidence  we  observed  does  not  warrant 
further  action. 


325 


C.W.  HILL  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


CLOSED  Principal:  Yolanda  Brown  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Testing  Coordinator:  Tracey  Fletcher 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  C.W.  Hill 
Elementary  in  2009.  Because  C.W.  Hill  closed  at  the  end  of  2009,  only  one  witness  was 
interviewed  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

29.4 

N/A 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

15 

N/A 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

7(4) 

N/A 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

10.3 

N/A 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

25.1 

N/A 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.7 

N/A 

III.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  C.W.  Hill,  29.4%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard  deviations 
from  the  State  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Fifteen  teachers  had  classes  exceeding  three 
standard  deviations.  Although  we  have  concerns,  the  evidence  does  not  warrant  further  action. 


326 


ADAMSVILLE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


286  Wilson  Mill  Road  Principal:  Sharon  Suitt  SRT- 1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30331  Testing  Coordinator:  Lucille  Gourdine 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Adamsville 
Elementary  in  2009.  Eleven  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

27.8 

1.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

20 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

10(7) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.5 

3.8 

High  Flagged  Standard 

9.7 

3.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.8 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Adamsville,  27.8%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard 
deviations  from  the  state  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Ten  teachers  had  20  classes 
exceeding  three  standard  deviations.  In  2010,  the  percentages  of  classes  with  wrong-to-right 
erasures  exceeding  three  standard  deviations  from  the  state  mean  dropped  significantly  from 
27.8%  to  1.9%.  Although  we  have  concerns,  the  evidence  does  not  warrant  further  action. 


327 


CASCADE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


2326  Venetian  Dr.  Principal:  Dr.  Alfonso  L.  Jessie,  Jr.  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  GA  30331  Testing  Coordinator:  Barbara  Ash 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  only  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  at  Cascade  Elementary  in 
2009.  Fourteen  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than  once. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

28.8 

1.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

19 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

10(6) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.2 

3.3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

13.7 

3.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.3 

III.  SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Dr.  Alfonso  Jessie  (Principal) 

Dr.  Alfonso  Jessie  said  there  is  pressure  from  APS  to  make  targets  and  improve  test 
scores.  SRT-1  Director  Sharon  Davis-Williams  put  Dr.  Jessie  on  three  PDPs  when  Cascade 
failed  to  meet  targets.  On  occasion  Davis-Williams  would  ask  Dr.  Jessie  what  he  was  going  to 
do  about  a  particular  teacher  whose  students  did  not  do  well  on  the  CRCT.  Dr.  Jessie  testified 
that  he  has  no  knowledge  of  anyone  at  Cascade  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

IV.  ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

Due  to  the  statistical  evidence  and  the  testimony  of  witnesses,  we  cannot  determine  what 
happened  at  Cascade.  A  number  of  teachers  told  investigators  that  there  was  no  time  limit  within 
which  they  had  to  turn  the  tests  in  to  the  testing  coordinator.  It  is  possible  that  the  teachers  had 
time  to  prompt  students  or  change  answers  in  the  classroom.  No  witnesses  admitted  to 
prompting  students  or  changing  answers.  Although  we  have  concerns,  the  evidence  does  not 
warrant  further  action. 


328 


HERITAGE  ACADEMY  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


3500  Villa  Circle  SE  Principal:  Yvonne  Eternal  SRT-2  Executive  Director:  Michael  Pitts 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30354  Testing  Coordinator:  Meribell  White 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  only  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  at 
Heritage  Academy  Elementary.  Eighteen  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

28.2 

9.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

22 

7 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  fro  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

17(4) 

7(2) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.5 

6.3 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

10.6 

11.0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.0 

3.0 

III.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Heritage  Academy,  28.2%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard 
deviations  from  the  State  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Seventeen  teachers  had  22  classes 
exceeding  three  standard  deviations.  In  2010,  the  percentage  of  classes  with  wrong-to-right 
erasures  exceeding  three  standard  deviations  from  the  State  mean  dropped  from  28.2%  to  9.3%. 
The  evidence  we  observed  does  not  warrant  further  action. 


329 


UNIVERSITY  COMMUNITY  ACADEMY 


2050  Tiger  Flowers  Drive,  NW  Principal:  Dr.  Jim  Harris  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314  Testing  Coordinator:  Tammy  Miller 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  University  Community  Academy  (UCA)  in  2009  and 
other  years.  Two  people  confessed  to  cheating.  Cheating  at  UCA  is  evidenced  by  confessions 
and  witness  testimony.  Twenty-six  people  were  interviewed  at  UCA,  some  more  than  once. 
Principal  Jim  Harris  failed  to  properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

25 

4.2 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

5 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

4(1) 

3(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

8.3 

3.6 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

13.9 

4.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.3 

3.2 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

Cheating  occurred  at  UCA  during  CRCT  testing  in  2008  and  2009.  One  teacher 
confessed  to  cheating  in  2009  during  CRCT  testing.  When  students  raised  their  hands  during 
testing,  she  provided  answers.  Her  proctor  was  present  but  was  reportedly  unaware  of  the 
teacher's  actions.  Three  proctors  said  teachers  for  whom  they  proctored  cheated.  Melvin 
McClain  circulated  among  the  lower  achieving  students  in  his  class  during  2008  and  2009 
testing,  and  read  off  a  series  of  answers  for  the  students.  Haron  Wood  confessed  that  he  also 
provided  answers  for  McClain' s  students. 

Wanda  Nevett  was  implicated  by  two  of  her  proctors  for  cheating. 

Wanda  Williams  was  implicated  by  her  proctor  and  other  witnesses  for  cheating  during 
2009  CRCT  testing.  Williams  would  go  to  students  who  raised  their  hand  and  provide  answers. 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.        Christine  Clyne  (Teacher) 

Christine  Clyne  confessed  to  cheating  on  the  CRCT  in  2009.  Clyne  admitted  to  cheating 
by  providing  students  with  answers  during  testing.  She  said  she  gave  answers  to  students  who 
raised  their  hands.  Her  proctor  was  unaware  of  what  she  was  doing.  Clyne  was  unaware  of 


330 


anyone  else  in  the  school  engaging  in  similar  behavior.  A  combination  of  personal  pressure  and 
pressure  from  Principal  Harris  may  have  motivated  her  actions.  She  was  accused  of  testing 
improprieties  while  teaching  at  another  school  several  years  ago. 

2.  Dr.  Jim  Harris  (Principal) 

Dr.  Jim  Harris  was  the  Principal  of  UCA  in  2009.  Principal  Harris  denied  knowledge  of 
cheating.  Although  he  had  a  statistics  background  and  understood  the  meaning  of  high  standard 
deviations,  he  refused  to  believe  that  cheating  could  account  for  the  high  erasures  at  UCA. 
Principal  Harris  appeared  surprised  when  shown  the  names  of  the  flagged  teachers,  many  of 
whom  he  had  recruited  from  other  schools.  He  admitted  hiring  Clyne  despite  knowledge  of 
previous  allegations  of  cheating  made  against  her  at  another  school.  He  denied  putting  pressure 
on  teachers.  When  informed  that  some  had  made  confessions  and  implicated  others,  Principal 
Harris  refused  to  believe  that  cheating  was  possible  because  testing  procedures  were  tight.  He 
claimed  he  personally  went  from  room  to  room  monitoring  the  school  during  testing. 

3.  Haron  Wood  (Proctor) 

Haron  Wood  proctored  for  Melvin  McClain  in  2009  and  for  a  few  days  in  2008.  Wood 
testified  that  during  2008  and  2009  CRCT  testing  in  McClain' s  sixth  grade  class,  McClain  would 
walk  around  the  class  and  "blatantly"  provide  answers  to  the  students.  Wood  stated  that 
McClain  would  stand  over  particular  students,  instruct  them  to  write  quickly  and  read  them  a 
series  of  10  to  15  answers.  Some  students  had  already  filled  in  wrong  answers,  which  they 
erased  and  changed  to  the  right  answers  provided  by  McClain.  Other  students  left  questions 
unanswered  and  waited  for  McClain  to  come  over  and  provide  answers.  McClain  had  materials 
in  hand  to  assist  him  in  providing  answers.  McClain  focused  on  the  lower  achieving  students 
and  left  the  higher  performing  students  alone. 

Wood  admitted  to  providing  some  students  with  answers  during  testing  in  McClain' s 
class  during  CRCT  testing. 

Wood  said  he  also  proctored  for  Wanda  Nevett  during  2008  CRCT  testing.  He  said  that 
in  2008  Nevett  cheated  by  using  voice  inflection  to  give  her  students  answers.  Wanda  Nevett 
would  also  walk  around  and  "abruptly"  inform  students  when  they  had  missed  a  question  and 
provide  the  correct  answer.  If  a  student  was  taking  too  long  to  fill  in  an  answer,  Nevett  would 
tell  the  child,  "What  is  taking  so  long,  the  answer  is  ." 

4.  Rhonda  Smith  (Proctor) 

Rhonda  Smith  worked  as  a  lunchroom  assistant  and  served  as  a  proctor  for  Wanda 
Williams  in  2009.  Smith  stated  that  Williams  went  to  students  who  raised  their  hands  during 
CRCT  testing  and  gave  them  the  answer.  Smith  could  hear  Williams  providing  answers. 
Students  sometimes  asked  Smith  for  the  answers,  but  because  it  was  sixth  grade  and  she  was 
unsure  of  the  correct  answer,  she  would  summon  Williams  over  to  the  student,  and  Williams 
provided  the  student  with  the  answer.  Smith  observed  that  Williams  had  papers  in  her  desk 
drawer  that  she  appeared  to  be  referencing.  Smith  said  she  knew  there  were  different  versions  of 
the  test  and  did  not  know  how  Williams  had  access  to  the  correct  information. 


331 


5.       MeiTei  Smith  (Proctor) 


MeiTei  Smith  was  a  proctor  for  Wanda  Nevett  in  2009.  Smith  stated  that  during  the  2009 
CRCT,  Nevett  walked  around  the  classroom  and  erased  on  students'  test  books  as  she 
administered  the  test.  Smith  was  uncertain  whether  Nevett  was  erasing  answers.  Nevett  walked 
around  the  room  pointing  at  students'  test  books,  but  Smith  was  not  certain  if  Nevett  was 
prompting  them  to  change  their  answers.  Nevett  used  voice  inflection  when  reading  answer 
choices.  Nevett  read  the  questions  more  than  twice  which  Smith  knew  to  be  a  testing  violation. 

6.  Tammy  Miller  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Tammy  Miller  was  the  Testing  Coordinator  in  2009.  She  denied  any  knowledge  of 
cheating. 

7.  Shirley  Shivers  (Tutor  &  Proctor) 

Shirley  Shivers  was  a  tutor  and  proctor  in  2009.  A  proctor  or  monitor  told  Shivers  that 
Wanda  Williams'  classroom  door  was  locked  during  the  CRCT.  Students  said  that  Wanda 
Williams  and  Melvin  McClain  provided  answers  during  testing.  Shivers  said  that  if  cheating 
occurred,  it  would  have  taken  place  in  the  classroom. 

8.  Kimberly  Lucas  (Teacher) 

Students  told  Kimberly  Lucas  that  Wanda  Williams  cheated  by  using  coughing  as  a 
signal.  Williams  coughed  a  certain  number  of  times  to  indicate  the  correct  answer.  Lucas  was 
flagged  in  math  with  a  standard  deviation  above  12,  which  she  could  not  explain.  She  said  most 
of  her  students  "sucked"  in  math. 

9.  Janice  Mencey  (Counselor) 

Janice  Mencey  was  the  school  counselor  in  2009.  She  assisted  testing  coordinator 
Tammy  Miller  with  the  test  materials.  Mencey  denied  cheating  or  knowledge  of  cheating; 
however,  she  admitted  that  even  if  she  had  information  about  cheating  she  might  not  disclose  it 
to  us.  She  stated  that  if  she  told  anyone,  it  would  most  likely  be  the  principal. 

C.       Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.        Melvin  McClain  (Teacher) 

Melvin  McClain  stated  that  the  majority  of  his  students  performed  at  high  levels  and  that 
their  success  was  due  to  his  "teaching  to  the  test"  methodology  and  emphasis  on  the  CRCT 
coach  book.  He  stated  that  everywhere  he  has  worked,  the  administration  placed  him  in  grades 
that  needed  the  most  work  to  raise  test  scores.  McClain  took  pride  in  calling  himself  "the 
disciplinarian  of  the  school."  McClain  could  provide  no  explanation  for  his  high  wrong  to  right 
erasures. 


332 


2.        Wanda  Williams  (Teacher) 


Wanda  Williams  was  a  sixth  grade  teacher  at  UCA.  She  was  flagged  in  all  three  subject 
areas.  She  stated  that  if  anyone  claimed  she  provided  answers  to  students,  they  were  lying. 
Williams  did  not  believe  that  any  student  would  be  angry  enough  to  accuse  her  of  cheating.  She 
claimed  that  she  did  not  have  the  ability  to  answer  some  of  the  math  problems  on  the  test.  She 
denied  that  her  doors  were  locked  during  the  test.  Williams  erased  stray  marks  but  denies 
changing  answers. 

3.        Wanda  Nevett  (Teacher) 

Wanda  Nevett  was  one  of  two  first  grade  teachers  at  UCA  and  had  over  30  years  of 
teaching  experience.  She  and  the  other  teacher,  Torri  Brown,  split  the  first  grade  students  into 
high  and  low  performing  groups,  and  Wanda  Nevett  taught  the  lower  achieving  students.  At  her 
first  interview,  Nevett  claimed  that  the  high  erasures  might  have  been  the  result  of  her  "body 
language."  Her  students  knew  her  so  well  that  they  knew  what  she  was  trying  to  say  without  her 
having  to  say  anything.  Nevett  believed  the  erasures  took  place  in  her  classroom  and  that  the 
tests  were  not  tampered  with  after  leaving  her  classroom.  She  denied  erasing  anything  on  the 
students'  tests,  including  stray  marks.  Nevett  was  unsure  how  many  times  she  was  allowed  to 
read  the  questions  and  admitted  she  probably  read  them  more  than  twice. 

At  her  second  interview,  Nevett  claimed  she  read  some  questions  substituting  language 
familiar  to  her  students.  When  advised  that  she  was  seen  walking  around  making  erasures  on 
students'  tests,  she  denied  erasing  answers  but  claimed  she  was  erasing  stray  marks.  She 
admitted  she  lied  at  her  first  interview,  claiming  she  was  scared.  Nevett  testified  that  the  only 
thing  she  did  that  may  have  influenced  the  students'  answers  was  changing  the  language  when 
she  read  some  questions,  and  hitting  a  student's  desk  and  saying  "pay  attention!"  Nevett  denies 
pointing  to  answers  on  the  test. 

D.       Other  Evidence 

Haron  Wood  believed  that  teachers  at  UCA  provided  assistance  to  students  during  test 
administration  as  a  result  of  pressure  placed  by  Principal  Jim  Harris.  Principal  Harris  told  the 
staff  that  the  school  must  make  AYP  "by  any  means  necessary."  Wood  believed  that  several 
teachers  helped  their  students  cheat. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  cheating  occurred  at  UCA  in  2008  and  2009. 

We  conclude  that  Christine  Clyde,  Haron  Wood,  Melvin  McClain,  Wanda  Williams,  and 
Wanda  Nevitt  cheated  on  the  CRCT. 

Principal  Harris  exerted  pressure  to  make  AYP.  We  conclude  that  Principal  Harris  either 
knew  or  should  have  known  that  cheating  occurred.  He  created  an  atmosphere  where  teachers 
felt  it  was  necessary  to  cheat. 


333 


Principal  Jim  Harris  failed  in  his  responsibility  for  testing  activities  and  for  ensuring  the 
ethical  administration  of,  and  proper  security  for,  the  2009  CRCT.  It  is  clear  from  the  statistical 
data,  and  the  other  evidence  with  regard  to  cheating  in  the  APS  system,  that  Harris  failed  to 
properly  monitor  the  2009  CRCT,  adequately  supervise  testing  activities  and  test  security.  This 
resulted  in,  and  he  is  responsible  for,  falsifying,  misrepresenting  or  erroneously  reporting  the 
results  of  the  2009  CRCT  to  the  Georgia  Department  of  Education. 


334 


WILLIAMS  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


CLOSED  Principal:  Mary  Joyce  Harris  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Testing  Coordinator:  Teresa  Ayers 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

Williams  Elementary  had  six  flagged  teachers  in  2009,  and  closed  at  the  end  of  the  2008- 
2009  school  year.  Each  of  those  flagged  teachers  administered  the  test  to  seven  or  fewer 
students.  Given  the  small  sample  size  of  each  flagged  classroom,  and  the  fact  that  it  is  closed, 
we  did  not  interview  anyone  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

20.4 

N/A 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

11 

N/A 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

6(3) 

N/A 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

6.9 

N/A 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

11.8 

N/A 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.5 

N/A 

III.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  have  no  opinion  on  whether  there  was  cheating  at  Williams,  but  do  not  believe  it 
warrants  any  further  investigation. 


335 


HERNDON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


350  Temple  Street  Principal:  Betty  Tinsley  SRT-1  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30314  Testing  Coordinator:  Patrice  Lisbon 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at  Herndon 
Elementary  in  2009.  Fourteen  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

20.4 

1.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

11 

1 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

5(3) 

1(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5 

3.7 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

7.3 

3.7 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.1 

3.7 

III.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Herndon,  20.4%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard  deviations 
from  the  state  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Eleven  classes  exceeded  three  standard 
deviations.  Seven  of  these  classes  were  first  and  second  grade  classes.  In  2010  the  percentages 
of  classes  with  wrong-to-right  erasures  exceeding  three  standard  deviations  from  the  state  mean 
dropped  significantly  from  20.4%  to  1.9%.  Although  we  have  concerns,  the  evidence  does  not 
warrant  further  action. 

We  note  that  the  report  made  by  Dr.  Jackie  Boyce  in  2009,  regarding  a  student  saying  a 
teacher  at  Herndon  helped  the  students  with  answers,  was  not  properly  investigated  by  APS  at 
the  time.  The  evidence  with  regard  to  that  matter  was  stale  by  the  time  of  this  investigation. 


336 


BOLTON  ACADEMY  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


2268  Adams  Drive,  NW  Principal:  Laura  Strickling  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  Tamara  Cotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30318  Testing  Coordinator:  Pamela  Patterson 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  only  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  2009  CRCT  at 
Bolton  Academy  Elementary,  and  this  evidence  lacks  sufficient  detail  upon  which  to  base  further 
action.  Ten  teachers  were  interviewed  at  this  school. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

15.9 

4.5 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

11 

3 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

5(4) 

1(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.9 

3.6 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

9.7 

4.0 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.0 

3.0 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.       Testimony  of  Witnesses 

1.  Ameera  Lucky  (Teacher) 

Ameera  Lucky  witnessed  teachers  erasing  stray  marks  as  a  group  in  the  conference  room 
in  2009. 

Lucky  also  stated  that  Principal  Strickling  routinely  backdated  materials  such  as 
evaluations,  observations,  and  receipt  of  documents.  Some  teachers  reported  this  to  SRT-4 
Director  Tamara  Cotman,  but  Cotman  took  no  action.  After  the  teachers  reported  this  conduct  to 
Cotman,  Principal  Strickling  sent  a  memorandum  ordering  teachers  to  send  correspondence  to 
Cotman  through  Principal  Strickling. 

Teachers  at  Bolton  were  told  that  if  GBI  agents  came  to  their  homes,  they  were  to  tell  the 
agents  they  could  only  interview  them  through  Principal  Strickling. 

2.  Tabitha  Stroud  (Teacher) 

Tabitha  Stroud  believes  voice  inflection  was  used  to  prompt  first  and  second  grade 
students  on  the  CRCT. 

Principal  Strickling  asked  Stroud  to  backdate  documents  on  more  than  one  occasion. 
Stroud  heard  other  teachers  complain  that  Principal  Strickling  put  false  information  in  their 


337 


personnel  files.  All  of  this  was  reported  to  SRT  Executive  Director  Cotman,  but  Cotman  never 
responded  to  the  teachers'  concerns.  Principal  Strickling  e-mailed  the  teachers  and  instructed 
them  not  to  correspond  with  Cotman  anymore. 

3.  Pamela  Patterson  (Testing  Coordinator) 

Pamela  Patterson  denied  cheating  or  knowledge  of  cheating,  and  denied  she  erased  any 
stray  marks  in  2009.  Patterson  is  aware  of  teachers  complaining  that  the  previous  year's  CRCT 
score  of  a  particular  student  did  not  match  up  with  their  abilities.  Patterson  implied  that 
generally  this  was  because  the  teacher  did  not  feel  he  or  she  could  prepare  the  student  as  well. 
On  one  occasion  a  teacher  brought  this  concern  to  her  and  she  concurred  that  the  student's  score 
was  surprising. 

4.  Kristi  Tompkins  (Teacher) 

Kristi  Tompkins  heard  that  Theresa  Powell  gave  answers  to  her  students  on  the  2008 
CRCT.  Tompkins  heard  Powell  was  "dealt  with"  by  APS  but  does  not  know  any  further  details. 

B.        Testimony  of  Individuals  Implicated 

1.  Laura  Strickling  (Principal) 
Laura  Strickling  denied  knowledge  of  cheating. 

2.  Theresa  Powell  (Teacher) 

Theresa  Powell  was  suspended  for  thirty  days  for  improperly  prompting  students  on  the 
2008  CRCT.  She  said  that  she  told  the  students  to  "check  their  answers  and  make  sure  they  are 
correct."  She  recognized  this  was  a  testing  violation  and  submitted  to  the  suspension. 

According  to  Powell,  she  was  surprised  to  see  that  she  was  flagged.  She  had  specifically 
requested  and  been  given  a  proctor  for  the  2009  CRCT.  She  says  she  would  not  have  had  an 
opportunity  to  cheat.  If  anyone  erased  answers  it  must  have  been  the  teacher  who  administered 
the  test  to  her  ESOL  students  with  accommodations  or  the  administration. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

Although  we  have  concerns,  especially  regarding  the  possible  attempts  by  Principal 
Strickling  to  interfere  with  this  investigation,  the  evidence  we  observed  does  not  warrant  further 
action. 


338 


MORNINGSIDE  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 


1053  East  Rock  Springs  Road  Principal:  Rebecca  Pruitt  SRT-3  Executive  Director:  Dr.  Gloria  Patterson 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30306  Testing  Coordinator:  Kori  Sanchez 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

There  is  only  limited  statistical  evidence  that  cheating  occurred  on  the  CRCT  at 
Morningside  Elementary  in  2009.  Five  people  were  interviewed  at  this  school,  some  more  than 
once. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


2009 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

3.2 

4.9 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

4 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

4(0) 

5(0) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

3.9 

3.8 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

4.8 

4.3 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.2 

3.4 

III.      SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

A.  Narrative 

In  2009,  four  teachers  were  flagged  for  having  wrong-to-right  erasures  higher  than  the 
State  mean.  During  the  course  of  this  investigation,  allegations  were  made  that  Elizabeth 
Richman  told  a  teacher  at  Springdale  Park  Elementary  that  teachers  at  Morningside  instructed 
their  students  to  leave  questions  blank  when  they  did  not  know  the  answers,  allowing  the 
teachers  to  fill  in  the  correct  answers  later.  Elizabeth  Richman  denied  making  that  statement, 
and  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  CRCT. 

One  teacher  testified  that  although  teachers  were  required  to  turn  their  CRCT  materials  in 
immediately  after  testing,  "no  one  checked  on  teachers  to  make  sure  their  tests  were  turned  in 
immediately." 

B.  Testimony  of  Witnesses 

I.        Elizabeth  Richman  (Teacher) 

Elizabeth  Richman  denied  telling  anyone  that  teachers  at  Morningside  instructed  students 
to  leave  answers  blank  and  filling  the  answers  in  later.  She  stated  that  she  had  no  knowledge  of 
cheating  on  the  CRCT,  but  that  teachers  were  not  "checked  on"  to  make  sure  they  turned  in  their 
CRCT  materials  immediately  after  testing. 


339 


2.        Rebecca  Pruitt  (Principal) 


Rebecca  Pruitt  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

IV.      ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

For  the  2009  CRCT  at  Morningside,  3.2%  of  the  classes  exceeded  three  standard 
deviations  from  the  state  mean  for  wrong-to-right  erasures.  Four  teachers  had  classes  exceeding 
three  standard  deviations.  Two  of  these  classes  were  first  and  second  grade  classes.  In  2010  the 
percentages  of  classes  with  wrong-to-right  erasures  exceeding  three  standard  deviations  from  the 
State  mean  grew  from  3.2%  to  4.9%,  consisting  of  one  classroom  that  tested  one  student.  The 
evidence  we  observed  does  not  warrant  further  action. 


340 


MORRIS  BRANDON  ELEMENTARY  SCHOOL 

2741  Howell  Mill  Road  Northwest  Principal:  Karen  Evans  SRT-4  Executive  Director:  TamaraCotman 

Atlanta,  Georgia  30327  Testing  Coordinator:  Peter  Settelmayer 

T.        TNVESTTGATTVE  SUMMARY 

We  found  no  evidence  of  cheating  at  Morris  Brandon.  Six  people  were  interviewed  at 
this  school,  some  more  than  once. 

II.       STATISTICAL  DATA 


20(19 

2010 

Percentage  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

1 

4.3 

Number  of  Classrooms  Flagged  for  WTR  Erasures 

1 

5 

Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  for  WTR  Standard  Deviations  above 
3.0  (Number  of  Teachers  Flagged  in  Multiple  Subjects) 

1(0) 

4(1) 

Mean  WTR  Standard  Deviations  from  State  Norm 

5.8 

3.4 

High  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.8 

3.8 

Low  Flagged  Standard  Deviation 

3.8 

3.1 

III.  SUMMARY  OF  EVIDENCE 

In  2009,  Sarah  Elizabeth  Visel  was  the  only  teacher  flagged  for  high  wrong-to-right 
erasures.  While  Visel  was  the  only  homeroom  teacher  identified  by  the  state,  she  did  not 
administer  the  CRCT  in  2009.  She  was  out  on  maternity  leave.  The  test  was  actually 
administered  by  Omema  Martin  and  proctored  by  Judith  Maisonneuve.  Both  Martin  and 
Maisonneuve  denied  any  knowledge  of  cheating.  We  conclude  that  there  was  no  cheating  at 
Morris  Brandon  given  the  low  standard  deviations  for  both  2009  and  2010,  the  small  number  of 
classrooms  flagged,  coupled  with  the  lack  of  other  evidence. 

IV.  ANALYSIS  OF  EVIDENCE 

We  conclude  that  there  was  not  cheating  at  Morris  Brandon  on  the  2009  CRCT.  No 
further  investigation  is  needed. 


341 


2009  VS.  2010 

The  GOSA  erasure  analysis  performed  on  the  2010  CRCT  provides 
additional  proof  of  cheating  in  2009  and  other  years.  By  the  time  the  CRCT  was 
administered  in  the  spring  of  20 1 0,  the  GOSA  2009  erasure  analysis  had  been 
made  public  and  Governor  Perdue  ordered  the  district  to  investigate  the  flagged 
schools.  Media  attention  was  focused  on  the  district,  and  the  state  sent 
representatives  to  some  of  the  district  schools  to  observe  administration  of  the  test. 

Following  the  2010  CRCT,  GOSA  commissioned  another  erasure  analysis. 
That  study  revealed  a  dramatic  drop  in  WTR  erasures,  and  consequently,  the 
overall  percentage  of  classes  flagged  plummeted  in  virtually  every  school  in  the 
"moderate"  and  "severe"  concern  categories.  For  example.  Parks  Middle  School, 
with  the  highest  percentage  of  classes  flagged  in  Georgia  in  2009,  dropped  from 
89.5%  in  2009,  to  4%  in  2010.  Gideons  Elementary  went  from  88.4%  to  25%; 
FX.  Stanton  Elementary  from  83.3%  to  7.1%. 

We  presented  the  principals  of  these  schools  with  the  20  i  0  erasure  analysis 
and  asked  for  an  explanation  of  the  precipitous  drops  in  flagged  classes.  Many 
claimed  that  some  students  were  afraid  to  erase  in  20 10  because  of  the  media 
cov  erage  surrounding  the  erasure  analysis.  None  of  those  principals  offered  proof 
that  the  students  actually  erased  less.    A  few  principals  recalled  an  occasional 


342 


student  or  parent  asking  whether  it  was  okay  to  erase.  Most  confirmed  that 
teachers  still  encouraged  students  to  erase  when  necessary. 

The  problem  with  the  "students  are  afraid  to  erase"  explanation  is  that  it 
assumes  that  the  students  were  erasing  in  the  first  place.  It  is  possible  that 
students'  reticence  to  erase  may  account  for  some  drops  in  flagged  classes  in  a  few 
schools.  It  does  not  account  for  the  85  percentage  point  decrease  at  Parks,  and  the 
significant  drops  at  schools  where  we  have  confirmed  cheating  occurred. 

Cook  Elementary  and  BEST  Academy  provide  a  distressing  example  of  how 
the  presence  of  state  monitors  (and  not  the  students'  fears)  resulted  in  fewer 
flagged  classes.  Cook  Elementary  had  40.7%  of  its  classes  flagged  in  2009,  and 
we  found  direct  evidence  of  coordinated  cheating  by  Principal  LaPaul  Shelton  on 
the  2009  CRC  I  .  In  contrast,  BEST  Academy  was  "clear  of  concern"  in  2009.  In 
2010,  the  district  transferred  LaPaul  Shelton  to  BEST  Academy  to  serve  as 
principal.  There  were  no  state  monitors  at  BEST  because  it  had  previously  been 
"clear  of  concern."  Apparently,  Shelton  has  engaged  in  the  same  improper 
practices  at  BEST  that  he  did  at  Cook  in  2009.  The  percentage  of  classes  flagged 
at  BEST  increased  from  3.9%  in  2009  to  19.4%  in  2010.  At  Cook,  where  state 
monitors  supervised  the  CRCT  administration  in  2010,  and  Shelton  was  no  longer 
the  principal,  the  percentage  of  flagged  classes  fell  to  5%.  This  shift  between 
Cook  and  BEST  shows  that  the  percentage  of  flagged  classes  at  Cook  dropped  not 


343 


because  the  students  stopped  erasing,  but  perhaps  because  Principal  Shelton  was 

removed. 


344 


ATLANTA  PUBLIC  SCHOOLS 


PERCENTAGE  OF  CLASSES  WITH  FLAGGED  WTR'S 


2009 

^ni  ft 

ZU1U 

Parks  Middle 

on 

c 
3 

4.0 

Gideons  Elementary 

o  o 

88 

A 

4 

25.0 

Peyton  Forest 

86 

1 

26.1 

F  L  Stanton 

83 

3 

7.1 

Usher  Elementary 

78 

4 

13.3 

Venetian  Hill 

75 

4 

1.5 

Capitol  View 

70 

O 

8 

19.0 

Connally  Elementary 

/o 

5 

9.9 

Dunbar  Elementary 

68 

6 

22.2 

Scott  Elementary 

/CO 

Do 

A 
(J 

1.4 

Perkerson  Elementary 

66 

7 

7.0 

Blalock  Elementary 

66 

7 

closed 

Towns  Elemental y 

63 

6 

12.1 

Woodson  Elementary 

/TO 

63 

3 

15.7 

Whitefoord  Elementary 

59 

3 

13.3 

D  H  Stanton  Elementary 

58 

3 

17.6 

Boyd  Elementary 

3D 

1 

15.7 

West  Manor  Elementary 

C  A 

54 

a 

9 

28.9 

Turner  Middle 

C  A 

54 

0 

9.3 

Kennedy  Middle 

2 

6.0 

Fickett  Elementary 

5 1 

A 

4 

9.3 

Finch  Elementary 

A  O 

48 

0 

10.3 

Deerwood  Academy 

A  T 

47 

o 

8 

8.6 

White  Elementary 

A  H 

47 

A 

4 

22.9 

Hutchinson  Elementary 

A  T 

47 

A 

0 

1.6 

Humphries  Elementary 

A  /' 

46 

7 

10.4 

Benteen  Elementary 

43 

1 

0.0 

Beecher  Hills 

42 

6 

2.4 

East  Lake  Elementary 

A  O 

42 

0 

0.0 

Cook  Elementary 

a  r\ 

40 

7 

5.0 

Fain  Elementary 

39 

1 

18.8 

Thomasville  H 

39 

1 

7.2 

Dobbs  Elementary 

33 

3 

6.9 

Crim  High  School 

33 

3 

0.0 

Coan  Middle  School 

31 

4 

3.3 

Slater  Elementary 

30 

3 

5.2 

Benjamin  S  Carson 

30 

0 

C  W  Hill  Elementary 

29 

4 

closed 

Cascade  Elementary 

28 

8 

1.9 

Heritage  Academy 

28 

2 

9.3 

Adamsville  Elementary 

27 

8 

1.9 

345 


School 

luuy 

lulu 

Cleveland  Elementary 

26. 1 

8.3 

University  Co 

25.0 

4.2 

Harper  Archer 

24. 1 

0.7 

M  A  Jones  Elementary 

23. 1 

7.8 

Beth  une  Elementary 

23. 1 

3.3 

Miles  Elementary 

21. 7 

2.9 

Toomer  Elementary 

21.4 

0.0 

Parkside  Elementary 

21.3 

4.3 

Williams  Elementary 

20.4 

closed 

Herndon  Elementary 

20.4 

1.9 

Grove  Park  Elementary 

20.0 

4.5 

The  Bridge 

16.7 

0.0 

Bolton  Academy 

15.9 

4.5 

Imagine  Wesle 

13.7 

3.2 

Long  Middle 

12.4 

13.9 

Kimberly  Elementary 

11.7 

7.9 

Young  Middle 

11.4 

3.9 

Sylvan  Hills 

10.4 

3.0 

Garden  Hills 

9 

7 

6.9 

Brown  Middle 

9 

3 

7.5 

Continental  C 

9 

1 

12.3 

Bunche  Middle 

7 

5 

2.8 

Burgess  Peter 

7 

1 

0.0 

King  Middle 

6 

1 

3.4 

Charles  R.  Drew 

5 

1 

1.0 

Inman  Middle 

4 

5 

5.0 

The  Best  Academy 

3 

9 

19.4 

Kipp  West  Elementary 

3 

9 

7.8 

Jackson  Elementary 

3 

7 

6.3 

Coretta  Scott 

3 

7 

5.6 

Morningside  Elementary 

3 

2 

4.9 

Atlanta  Charter 

3 

0 

0.0 

Hope  Elementary 

2 

8 

5.0 

Price  Middle 

2 

2 

4.8 

Smith  Elementary 

1 

0 

1.9 

Brandon  Elementary 

1 

0 

4.3 

Sutton  Middle 

0 

9 

1.9 

Lin  Elementary 

0 

0 

0.0 

Rivers  Elementary 

0 

0 

1.5 

Centennial  PI 

0 

0 

3.0 

Neighborhood 

0 

0 

2.2 

APSCEP  Partner 

0 

0 

0.0 

Hillside  Con  a 

0 

0 

0.0 

346 


GLOSSARY 


TERM 

DEFINITION 

APS 

Atlanta  Public  Schools.  An  independent  school  system  in  the  City 
of  Atlanta,  Fulton  County,  Georgia.  Officially  the  "Atlanta 
Independent  School  System." 

AYP 

Adequate  Yearly  Progress.  Part  of  the  federal  No  Child  Left 
Behind  Act  of  2001,  AYP  is  a  measure  of  year-to-year  student 
achievement  on  statewide  assessments.  Schools,  school  districts, 
and  states  must  demonstrate  a  certain  level  of  performance  on 
reading  and/or  language  arts  and  mathematics  assessments. 
Schools  that  do  not  "meet  AYP"  for  two  consecutive  years  in  the 
same  subject  area  are  designated  as  schools  in  "Needs 
Improvement." 

Certified  educator 

Individuals  trained  in  education  who  hold  teaching,  leadership, 
service,  technical  specialist,  or  permit  certification  issued  by  the 
PSC. 

Classroom  level  data 

CRCT  erasure  analysis  data  for  specific  teacher  or  homeroom, 
including  the  subject  tested,  number  of  students,  total  number  of 
wrong  to  right  erasures,  and  resulting  standard  deviation. 

Confessed 

Admitted  to  the  truth  of  a  charge  or  accusation. 

Convocation 

Annual  celebration  held  by  APS  to  recognize  schools  that  have 
met  at  least  70  percent  of  its  performance  targets.  All  APS 
schools'  faculty  are  expected  to  attend. 

CRCT 

Criterion-Referenced  Competency  Test.  A  standardized  test 
used  by  Georgia  as  the  AYP  assessment  tool  for  elementary  and 
middle  schools.  Tests  grades  1-8  in  reading,  English/language 
arts,  and  math.  In  addition,  grades  3-8  are  tested  in  science  and 
social  studies. 

ELA 

English  /language  arts 

Fifth  (5th)  Amendment 

The  privilege  against  self-incrimination  grounded  in  the  Fifth 
Amendment  to  the  U.S.  Constitution,  providing  that  no  person 
will  be  compelled  to  be  a  witness  against  himself.  In  a  criminal 
case,  if  a  defendant  invokes  the  5th  Amendment  and  refuses  to 
testify,  he  may  not  be  presumed  guilty  based  on  that  refusal. 
However,  in  a  civil  case,  if  a  witness  invokes  the  5th  Amendment 
and  refuses  to  answer  questions  concerning  whether  he  or  she 
committed  a  particular  act,  "it  creates  an  implied  admission  that  a 
truthful  answer  would  tend  to  prove  that  the  witness  had 
committed  the  act."  Perez  v.  Atlanta  Check  Cashers,  Inc.,  302 
Ga.  App.  864,  870  (2010). 

GOSA 

Governor' s  Office  of  Student  Achievement.  State  agency  which 
provides  accountability  for  Georgia's  schools,  pre-K  through 
postsecondary  levels.  The  intent  is  to  improve  student 
achievement  and  school  completion  in  Georgia. 

GTR  MP 

Unique  identification  number  assigned  to  each  student. 

347 


IEP 

Individualized  Education  Program.  Free,  appropriate,  public 
special  education  services  which  students  with  certain  disabilities 
or  impairments  are  eligible  to  receive.  An  IEP  is  a  written  plan 
developed  by  a  team  of  teachers,  other  qualified  personnel, 
parents,  guardians,  and  the  student  if  appropriate. 

Implicated 

Shown  to  be  also  involved,  usually  in  an  incriminating  manner. 

LA 

Language  arts 

MA 

Mathematics 

Makes  the  floor 

At  Convocation,  schools  that  "make  the  floor"  have  met  at  least 
70  percent  of  its  targets.  Those  schools"  faculty  members  are 
seated  in  groups  on  the  floor  of  the  host  venue,  with  the  schools 
meeting  the  highest  percentage  of  its  targets  seated  closest  to  the 
stage.  Schools  that  do  not  make  the  floor  are  seated  in  bleachers 
or  other  remote  seating. 

Meets,  exceeds 

Refers  to  a  measurement,  usually  expressed  as  a  percentage,  of 
students  who  "met"  or  "exceeded"  state  standards  in  certain  core 
curriculum  subjects  (math,  reading,  English/language  arts, 
science,  and  social  students)  as  measured  by  the  CRCT. 

Monitors 

Persons  assigned  to  a  school  to  observe  test  administration 
procedures;  e.g.  test  distribution,  test  collection,  storage  of  test 
materials.  Observes  testing  sites  to  see  that  schedules  are  being 
followed,  reports  unusual  activity. 

out 

APS  Office  of  Internal  Resolution/Employee  Relations. 
Processes  and  investigates  complaints  and  reports  of  employee 
wrongdoing  and  related  employment  matters. 

Parapro/  paraprofessi  onal 

A  person  who  may  have  less  than  professional-level  certification, 
who  relates  in  role  and  function  to  a  professional  and  does  a 
portion  of  the  professional's  job  under  the  professional's 
supervision,  and  whose  decision-making  authority  is  limited  and 
regulated  by  the  professional.  O.C.G.A.  §  20-2-204.  Georgia 
paraprofessi  onal  s  must  be  certified  by  the  PSC. 

PDP 

Professional  Development  Plan.  A  plan  developed  and 
implemented  to  correct  perceived  deficiencies  in  performance  of 
teachers  and  administrators,  used  to  encourage  and  support 
improvement  in  specific  areas. 

PEC 

Program  for  Exceptional  Children.  Program  offering  specialized, 
educational  testing,  evaluation  and  other  services  to  eligible 
children  with  certain  disabilities  or  impairments.  Each  eligible 
student  must  have  an  IEP. 

Preponderance  of  the  evidence 

A  standard  of  proof  in  civil  cases.  Evidence  which  is  of  greater 
weight  or  more  conv  incing  than  the  evidence  which  is  offered  in 
opposition  to  it;  that  is,  evidence  which  as  a  whole  shows  that  the 
fact  sought  to  be  proved  is  more  probable  than  not. 

Proctors 

Persons  assigned  to  monitor  classrooms  or  other  specific  areas 
during  testing;  circulate  to  observe  students  and  discourage 
misconduct;  assist  test  examiner  to  maintain  testing  security; 
report  unusual  activity  or  irregularities. 

348 


Prompting 

Assisting  students  during  testing  by  use  of  verbal  or  nonverbal 
cues.  Examples  include  voice  inflection,  pointing  to  answers, 
repetition  or  rephrasing  of  words  or  passages,  physical  cues, 
movements,  sounds,  or  signals  meant  to  suggest  or  convey  the 
answer  or  encourage  students  to  erase  and  change  an  answer. 

PSC 

Georgia  Professional  Standards  Commission.  A  state  agency 
created  "to  set  and  apply  high  standards  for  the  preparation, 
certification,  and  continued  licensing  of  Georgia  public 
educators."  The  PSC  also  handles  the  investigation  and  due 
process  of  cases  referred  for  disciplinary  action. 

RD 

Reading 

RPA 

APS'  Department  of  Research,  Planning  and  Accountability. 
Among  other  functions,  RPA  manages  and  oversees  all  testing 
programs  at  APS. 

Social  promotion 

The  practice  of  promoting  a  student  from  one  grade  level  to  the 
next  on  the  basis  of  age  rather  than  academic  achievement. 

SRTs 

School  Reform  Teams  APS  is  organized  into  four  (4) 
geographically  aligned  areas  comprised  of  elementary  and  middle 
schools,  each  headed  by  an  executive  director.  The  structure  is 
meant  to  provide  greater  accountability  and  faster  service  to 
schools  and  parents. 

Standard  deviation 

A  measure  of  the  variability  or  di  spersion  of  a  distribution  of 
scores  that  represents  the  average  difference  between  individual 
scores  and  the  mean.  The  more  the  scores  cluster  around  the 
mean,  the  smaller  the  standard  deviation. 

Student  level  data 

CRCT  erasure  analysis  data  for  each  individual  student  for  each 
subject  tested  (RD,  ELA,  MA)  showing  the  total  number  of 
erasures  made  on  that  test,  and  the  number  of  those  erasures  that 
changed  from  wrong  to  right. 

Stray  marks 

Pencil  markings  made  on  answer  sheets  that  are  visible  outside  of 
the  "bubble"  or  oval  area  where  answer  choices  are  to  be  marked. 

Targets 

An  accountability  program  implemented  by  APS,  consisting  of 
specific  performance  goals  set  for  each  school  at  the  beginning  of 
the  school  year.  The  targets  are  based  on  quantifiable  measures, 
primarily  CRCT  test  scores,  and  also  include  factors  such  as 
student  attendance,  and  enrollment  in  rigorous  academic  courses. 

Testing  accommodation 

A  change  in  a  test  administration  that  modifies  how  a  student 
takes  or  responds  to  the  assessment.  Accommodations  are 
designed  to  provide  equity  and  serve  to  level  the  playing  field  for 
students  with  disabilities  and  English  Language  Learners. 

Totality  of  the  evidence 

Finding  or  conclusion  based  on  all  of  the  circumstances  of  a 
particular  case,  rather  than  any  one  factor. 

WTR 

Wrong  To  Right  =  an  incorrect  answer  choice  is  erased  and 
changed  to  a  correct  answer  choice  on  an  answer  sheet,  as 
detected  by  erasure  analysis  using  high  speed  optical  scanners. 

349 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 


Volume  3 

Questions  350 

Why  Cheating  Occurred  350 

Targets  350 

Culture  of  Fear  356 

Dr.  Jackie  Boyce  357 

Jimmy e  Hawkins  359 

Michael  Milstead  361 

Former  High-Level  Official  361 

Patrick  Crawford  362 

Santhia  Curtis  363 

Teachers  365 

Ethics  365 

Early  Warnings  366 

Allegations  of  Cover-Up  368 

Parks  Middle  School  368 

Investigation  at  Parks  369 

Meeting  with  Senior  Leadership  371 

Retaliation  by  Waller  374 

Dramatic  Gains  at  Parks  374 

Deerwood  Academy  378 

Alteration  and  Destruction  of  Documents  383 


Porter  and  Reeves  Reports  385 

Media  Request  for  Porter  Report  389 

APS  Reaction  to  GOSA  390 

Blue  Ribbon  Commission  392 

Test  Security  395 

KPMG  and  APS  Interviews  396 

APS  Response  to  BRC  Report  398 

The  Business  Community  401 

Findings  402 

Dr.  Sharon  Davis-Williams  406 

Michael  Pitts  406 

Tamara  Cotman  407 

Veleter  Mazyck  408 

Millicent  Few  408 

Dr.  Kathy  Augustine  408 

Dr.  Beverly  Hall  409 

Glossary  411 


QUESTIONS 

Without  question,  cheating  occurred  in  APS  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and 

previous  years.  The  erasure  analysis  is  no  longer  a  mere  red  flag,  but  is  supported 

by  confessions  and  other  evidence  of  cheating  in  78.6%  of  the  elementary  and 

middle  schools  we  investigated.  We  now  address  the  questions:  Why  did  cheating 

occur  at  APS,  and  who  knew  about  it? 

WHY  CHEATING  OCCURRED 
Three  primary  conditions  led  to  widespread  cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT: 

•  The  targets  set  by  the  district  were  often  unrealistic,  especially 
given  their  cumulative  effect  over  the  years.  Additionally,  the 
administration  put  unreasonable  pressure  on  teachers  and 
principals  to  achieve  targets; 

•  A  culture  of  fear,  intimidation  and  retaliation  spread  throughout 
the  district;  and, 

•  Dr.  Hall  and  her  administration  emphasized  test  results  and 
public  praise  to  the  exclusion  of  integrity  and  ethics. 

TARGETS 

The  unreasonable  pressure  to  meet  annual  "targets"  was  the  primary 
motivation  for  teachers  and  administrators  to  cheat  on  the  CRCT  in  2009  and 
previous  years.  Virtually  every  teacher  who  confessed  to  cheating  spoke  of  the 
inordinate  stress  the  district  placed  on  meeting  targets  and  the  dire  consequences 
for  failure.  Dr.  Hall  articulated  it  as:  "No  exceptions.  No  excuses."  If  principals 
did  not  meet  targets  within  three  years,  she  declared,  they  will  be  replaced  and  "I 
will  find  someone  who  will  meet  targets."  Dr.  Hall  replaced  90%  of  the  principals 


350 


during  her  tenure.  Principals  told  teachers  that  failure  to  improve  CRCT  scores 
would  result  in  negative  evaluations  or  job  termination.  The  unambiguous 
message  was  to  meet  targets  by  any  means  necessary. 

We  do  not  express  any  opinion  as  to  the  merits  of  targets.  However,  targets 
were  implemented  by  APS  in  such  a  way  that  teachers  and  administrators  believed 
that  they  had  to  choose  between  cheating  to  meet  targets  or  failing  to  meet  targets 
and  losing  their  jobs. 

When  Dr.  Beverly  Hall  became  superintendent  in  1 999.  she  implemented 
many  new  programs  and  educational  strategies.  Dr.  Hall  managed  the  district  by 
relying  heavily  upon  data,  as  opposed  to  being  a  hands-on  leader.  In  this  regard, 
she  implemented  the  "target"  program,  which  held  teachers  and  principals 
responsible  for  student  achievement.  These  targets  were  used  to  quantify 
expectations  so  that  academic  progress  was  measurable,  based  primarily  on  the 
prior  years'  CRCT  results. 

The  major  difference  between  APS  targets  and  AYP  standards  is  that  under 
the  target  system,  a  school  is  not  only  required  to  move  students  from  the  bottom 
to  the  middle  (i.e.,  from  the  "not  meets"  standards  to  the  "meets"  standards 
category  on  the  CRCT),  but  schools  are  also  required  to  move  students  from  the 
middle  to  the  top  (i.e.,  from  "meets"  standards  to  "exceeds"  standards).  In  this 
way,  a  school  must  focus  on  improving  achievement  for  both  lower  performing 
and  higher  performing  students. 


351 


Targets  are  set  annually  by  the  APS  administration  and  approved  by  the 
Board  of  Education.  The  administration,  with  assistance  from  an  outside 
consultant,  sets  these  targets  for  the  district,  every  school  and  each  grade.  The 
administration  notifies  the  schools  of  their  targets  in  terms  of  a  percentage.  For 
example,  one  target  at  a  school  might  be  to  increase  the  percentage  of  students 
"exceeding"  standards  in  math  by  3%,  while  at  the  same  time  reducing  the  number 
of  students  "not  meeting"  math  standards  by  2%.  This  allows  each  teacher  in 
every  classroom  to  know  exactly  how  many  students  must  "meet"  or  "exceed"  the 
target  objective. 

Low-performing  schools  are  required  to  improve  by  a  greater  margin  each 
year  than  higher-performing  schools.  Thus,  a  higher  burden  is  placed  upon  the 
1  o wer-perform i ng  schools. 

As  schools  achieve  their  targets,  the  next  year,  the  targets  increase.  For 
example,  if  60%  of  last  year's  fourth  grade  students  met  expectations  in  math  on 
the  CRCT,  then  this  year  that  target  might  increase  to  63%.  Targets  are  set  based 
upon  the  previous  year's  group  of  students.  According  to  teachers  and 
administrators,  this  element  of  targets,  combined  with  the  fact  that  the  targets 
increase  every  year,  makes  them  unreasonable.  For  instance,  if  last  year's  fourth 
graders  were  mostly  high-performing  students,  but  the  fourth  grade  class  this  year 
contains  more  low  performers,  the  fourth  grade  targets  are  still  set  based  on  last 
year's  high  performing  students"  scores.     Teachers  and  administrators  we 


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interviewed  consistently  referred  to  this  as  "comparing  apples  to  oranges"  rather 
than  "apples  to  apples." 

Schools  that  meet  70%  of  their  targets  receive  bonuses  for  every  employee, 
from  bus  drivers  to  the  principal.  These  bonuses  range  from  $50  to  $2000  per 
person,  depending  on  what  percentage  of  the  targets  the  school  as  a  whole 
achieves.  Dr.  Hall  stood  to  financially  gain  based  on  whether  the  district  met 
targets.  Over  the  years,  she  received  tens  of  thousands  of  dollars  based  on  the 
reported  CRCT  results. 

Schools  that  meet  targets  will  "make  the  floor"  at  Convocation,  the  district's 
annual,  system-wide  celebration  held  at  the  Georgia  Dome  to  recognize  schools 
that  make  targets  and  improve  CRCT  scores.  Attendance  by  all  faculty  and 
administrators  is  mandator}'.  Faculty  at  schools  that  hit  targets  sit  "on  the  floor." 
Those  that  do  not  make  targets  are  relegated  to  sit  in  the  uppermost  sections  of  the 
Dome.  Throughout  this  investigation,  it  became  clear  that  for  many  in  the  district, 
especially  principals,  it  was  extremely  important  to  "make  the  floor." 

On  the  other  hand,  if  a  school  fails  to  meet  targets,  its  principal  and  teachers 
are  likely  to  be  placed  on  a  professional  development  plan  (PDP)  and  receive 
negative  performance  evaluations.  Some  are  terminated.  Student  achievement 
comprises  25%  of  principals*  evaluations,  the  single  heaviest  weighted  item.  Dr. 
Hall  made  it  clear  that  if  within  three  years  a  school  does  not  meet  targets,  then  she 
will  replace  the  principal  with  someone  who  will.  Principals  put  the  same  pressure 


353 


on  teachers  to  meet  targets  by  placing  teachers  on  PDPs,  publicly  humiliating 
them,  or  threatening  termination.  The  PDP  is  supposed  to  be  a  tool  for  helping 
teachers  and  principals  improve  areas  of  weakness.  Instead,  the  PDP  became  a 
weapon  to  punish  and  threaten  teachers  for  having  low  test  scores.  The  message 
heard  by  teachers  and  principals  was  that  the  only  way  out  of  a  PDP  was  to 
increase  test  scores. 

We  repeatedly  heard  from  teachers,  principals  and  Dr.  Hall,  that  APS  is  a 
"data  driven  system."  Almost  without  exception,  teachers  and  principals  said  that 
the  single  most  important  factor  to  this  administration  is  "data."  They  said  that 
"data  is  the  driver,"  "data  drives  instruction,"  and  "the  data  controls  everything." 
We  heard  this  system-wide  mantra  from  virtually  every  witness. 

Data  can  be  properly  used  as  a  tool  to  assess  academic  progress.  But  data 
can  also  be  used  as  an  abusive  and  cruel  weapon  to  embarrass  and  punish 
classroom  teachers  and  principals  or  as  a  pretext  to  termination.  After  hundreds  of 
interviews,  it  has  become  clear  that  Dr.  Hall  and  her  staff  used  data  as  a  way  to 
exert  oppressive  pressure  to  meet  targets. 

When  principals,  in  groups  of  10  to  12,  met  annually  with  Dr.  Hall,  each 
school's  scores  were  displayed  on  large  colorful  graphs  framed  and  hung  on  the 
wall  around  her  conference  room.  During  the  meeting.  Dr.  Hall  would  ask  each 
principal,  one  by  one,  "are  you  going  to  meet  targets  this  year?"  No  one  dared  tell 
her  "no." 


354 


Many  principals  humiliated  teachers  in  front  of  their  peers  for  failing  to  meet 
targets.  For  example,  at  Fain  Elementary  School,  the  principal  forced  a  teacher  to 
crawl  under  a  table  in  a  faculty  meeting  because  that  teacher's  students'  test  scores 
were  low.  In  other  schools,  principals  told  teachers  that  if  they  could  not  meet 
targets  or  AYP,  they  might  be  subject  to  disciplinary  action  or  they  should  find 
another  profession.  Administrators  used  these  types  of  tactics  even  though  they 
knew,  as  they  told  us,  that  the  targets  set  for  the  schools  were  unreasonable. 

The  monetary  bonus  for  meeting  targets  provided  little  incentive  to  cheat. 
But  fear  of  termination  and  public  ridicule  in  faculty  and  principals  meetings  drove 
numerous  educators  to  cross  ethical  lines.  Further,  because  targets  rose  annually, 
teachers  found  it  increasingly  difficult  to  achieve  them.  After  a  few  years  of 
increases,  teachers  found  the  targets  unattainable  and  resorted  to  cheating. 
Multiple  years  of  test  misconduct  in  the  district  compounded  the  level  of  cheating 
that  was  required  annually  to  not  only  match  the  prior  year's  false  scores  but  also 
to  surpass  them.  The  gap  between  where  the  students  were  academically  and  the 
targets  they  were  trying  to  reach  grew  larger. 

The  cumulative  effect  of  cheating  over  a  decade  on  the  CRCT  made  meeting 
targets  more  difficult  with  each  passing  year.  To  maintain  the  gains  of  the  past 
years  while  achieving  the  target  of  the  current  year  required  more  cheating  than  in 
prior  years.  Once  cheating  started  it  became  a  house  of  cards  that  collapsed  upon 
itself. 


355 


APS  is  indeed  a  "data  driven  system,"  and  whether  or  not  a  school  meets 
targets  is  the  most  important  data  of  all.  What  has  become  clear  through  our 
investigation  is  that  ultimately,  the  data,  and  meeting  "targets"  by  whatever  means 
necessary,  became  more  important  than  true  academic  progress. 

Pressure  to  meet  targets  and  improve  students*  CRCT  scores  was  the  single, 
most  frequent  explanation  given  by  teachers  for  why  they  cheated.  Most  teachers, 
and  many  principals,  described  an  oppressive  environment  at  APS  where  the  entire 
focus  of  the  district  had  become  achieving  test  scores  rather  than  teaching  children. 
Incremental,  yearly  progress  by  students  was  not  enough  unless  the  school  met 
targets.  Individual  student  progress  was  not  as  important  as  the  school,  as  a  whole, 
increasing  its  overall  CRCT  scores.  In  the  end,  meeting  targets  became  more  about 
the  adults  than  the  children. 

CULTURE  OF  FEAR 
Dr.  Hall  and  her  top  staff  created  a  culture  of  fear,  intimidation  and 

retaliation,  which  was  usually  enforced  on  principals  and  teachers  by  some  of  the 

SRT  executive  directors.  Many  witnesses  said  that  after  reporting  cheating,  or 

some  other  misconduct,  they  became  the  subject  of  an  investigation  and  were 

disciplined. 

This  culture  of  fear,  intimidation  and  retaliation  has  infested  the  district, 
allowing  cheating — at  all  levels — to  go  unchecked  for  years.  Those  who  dared  to 


356 


report  misconduct  in  the  district  were  held  in  contempt  and  punished.  For 
example: 

Dr.  Jackie  Boyce 

Dr.  Boyce  worked  for  six  years  as  a  learning  technology  specialist  in  SRT-1 , 
which  includes  most  of  southwest  Atlanta.  He  was  assigned  to  monitor  the 
administration  of  the  2009  CRCT  at  Perkerson  Elementary  School,  as  he  had  done 
for  three  previous  years.  Because  of  the  small  class  sizes  at  this  school,  test 
monitors  did  not  remain  in  one  classroom,  but  moved  around  the  school.  Several 
times  during  the  2009  testing.  Dr.  Boyce  says  he  observed  teacher  Lashaine  Blake, 
and  others,  improperly  pointing  out  answers  to  students. 

Dr.  Boyce  reported  his  observations  to  the  principal.  Dr.  Mable  Johnson,  on 
two  occasions,  but  says  she  "blew  [him]  off."  Boyce  also  wrote  notations  about 
what  he  saw  on  the  standardized  test  feedback  form,  the  state-required  document 
filled  out  at  the  end  of  each  day's  testing.  He  gave  the  form  directly  to  Dr.  Sharon 
Davis-Williams,  Executive  Director  of  SRT-1 .  Dr.  Davis-Williams  did  not  ask 
Boyce  any  details  about  the  teachers*  inappropriate  conduct,  nor  did  she  tell  him  to 
report  his  observations  to  anyone  else.  I n stead,  Davis-Williams  gave  Boyce  blank 
forms  and  directed  him  to  fill  them  out  again  without  the  notations  about  teachers 
pointing  out  answers.  She  told  Boyce  that  he  could  not  write  about  what  he  saw  on 
the  forms  because  "they  are  subject  to  the  open  records  act."  Davis-Williams  kept 
both  the  original  and  "corrected"  forms. 


357 


During  that  same  testing  period  in  2009,  Dr.  Boyce  also  worked  at  Hem  don 
Elementary.  While  Dr.  Boyce  was  in  the  classroom  of  Yolanda  Coleman,  she 
stepped  into  the  hallway  to  speak  with  Dr.  Betty  Tinsley,  the  principal.  As  he 
watched  her  class.  Dr.  Boyce  spoke  with  the  students  and  asked  how  they 
performed  on  the  CRCT.  Several  of  the  students  shouted  out  that  the  teacher,  Ms. 
Coleman,  had  given  them  the  answers.  One  child,  who  according  to  Boyce 
apparently  wanted  to  protect  the  teacher,  said,  "no,  she  was  just  giving  us 
examples"  of  test  questions. 

When  Dr.  Boyce  told  Ms.  Coleman  what  her  students  said  about  the  CRCT 
answers,  she  became  angry  and  accused  Dr.  Boyce  of  coercing  the  students  to  say 
she  cheated.  Dr.  Boyce  also  spoke  to  Principal  Tinsley  and  explained  to  her  what 
happened.  She  stated  she  would  deal  with  it. 

Dr.  Boyce  was  summoned  to  meet  the  next  day  with  his  immediate 
supervisor.  Dr.  Tinsley,  and  SRT  Executive  Director  Sharon  Davis-Williams. 
Davis- Williams  accused  Boyce  of  coercing  children  to  say  a  teacher  cheated,  and 
informed  Boyce  that  she  would  be  investigating  him.  Ultimately,  Dr.  Davis- 
Williams  gave  Boyce  a  reprimand  to  be  placed  in  his  personnel  file.  (Ex.  1  1 ).  In 
this  memorandum,  the  cheating  allegations  against  the  teacher  were  noted  as 
"unfounded."  Boyce  refused  to  sign  the  document  because  it  was  erroneous.  He 
was  sanctioned  for  reporting  possible  cheating,  while  the  accused  teacher  was 


358 


cleared  by  the  SRT  executive  director  without  a  proper  inquiry,  and  in  violation  of 
APS  policies. 

Jimmye  Hawkins 

On  November  1 7,  20 1 0,  Ms.  Jimmye  Hawkins  was  serving  as  an  interim 
principal  at  one  of  the  "flagged"  schools.  Her  immediate  supervisor,  Executive 
Director  Tamara  Cotman  (SRT-4),  held  a  principals'  meeting,  ostensibly  to  discuss 
teaching  practices.  Ms.  Cotman  began  this  meeting  with  a  lengthy  diatribe, 
bashing  the  Governor  and  this  investigation.  Cotman  discussed  the  "tricks"  she 
expected  the  investigators  would  use  and  warned  the  principals  of  things  they 
needed  to  watch  for  in  the  event  they  were  interviewed.  Cotman  then  handed  out 
forms  with  the  words  "Go  to  Hell"  printed  at  the  top.  Cotman  directed  each 
principal  to  write  letters  to  anyone  for  whom  the  principals  felt  animosity, 
including  the  Governor  and  the  special  investigators.  She  asked  for  volunteers  to 
"read  aloud"  their  "Go  to  Hell"  notes. 

In  December,  APS  received  an  anonymous  complaint  describing  what 
occurred  at  this  meeting.  (Ex.  12).  The  district  hired  a  local  attorney  to  investigate 
this  complaint.  Ms.  Hawkins  was  interviewed  on  January  25,  201 1 .  Afterwards 
she  wrote  to  Veleter  Mazyck,  APS  General  Counsel,  expressing  her  fear  of 
retaliation  by  SRT-4  Executive  Director  Cotman.  Mazyck  assured  Hawkins  that 
steps  had  been  taken  to  protect  her  from  retribution.  (Ex.  13).  However,  within 
hours  of  Hawkins'  interview,  Cotman  appeared  at  her  school  for  a  "site  visit," 


359 


which  culminated  in  a  list  of  "concerns  and  recom m endati on s . "  Additional  site 
visits  followed,  all  resulting  in  a  list  of  alleged  problems  at  Ms.  Hawkins"  school. 

On  February  11,  2011,  Cotman  demoted  Hawkins  from  principal  due  to 
"poor  performance,"  and  moved  her  back  to  her  previous  position.  Ms.  Hawkins 
immediately  called  Mazyck  and  informed  her  that  Cotman  retaliated  against  her  for 
providing  information  regarding  the  November  17,  2010  meeting.  Ultimately, 
Hawkins  was  reinstated  to  the  principal's  position  and  Cotman  was  transferred  out 
of  SRT-4  pending  further  investigation,  but  not  until  the  matter  was  reported  in  the 
local  media. 

Ms.  Cotman  spoke  with  us  concerning  this  matter.  She  said  that  the 
November  1 7,  20 1 0,  meeting  was  an  ordinary  principals*  meeting  and  the  "Go  to 
Hell"  memo  was  intended  as  a  "stress  relief  tool."  Cotman  says  she  routinely 
began  principals"  meetings  in  this  manner.  Cotman  claimed  that  at  the  time  Ms. 
Hawkins  was  demoted,  she  did  not  know  that  Hawkins  had  been  interviewed  as 
part  of  that  investigation.  Cotman  says  she  began  the  process  to  demote  Ms. 
Hawkins  back  in  October  20 10,  and  had  been  accumulating  the  appropriate 
documentation  to  take  that  action.  The  "site  visits""  in  January  and  February  201  1, 
comprised  the  final  steps  in  the  removal  process. 

Other  attendees  at  the  November  1 7th  meeting  supported  Ms.  Hawkins" 
version  of  the  story.  At  the  very  least,  the  timing  of  Ms.  Hawkins"  mid-school  year 


360 


"removal"  was  highly  suspicious,  coming  so  soon  after  she  provided  information 
unfavorable  to  Ms.  Cotman. 

Michael  Milstead 

Michael  Milstead  was  the  principal  at  Harper  Archer  Middle  School  from 
2006  until  2009.  He  noticed  a  discrepancy  between  students'  high  CRCT  scores  in 
elementary  school  and  their  poor  academic  performance.  Many  of  these  students 
were  several  grade  levels  behind  academically,  and  Milstead  soon  suspected  that 
some  of  these  students  had  inflated  CRCT  scores. 

This  achievement  gap  was  such  a  problem  that  Mr.  Milstead  raised  it  in  a 
May  2008  meeting  and  suggested  that  elementary  and  middle  school  principals 
should  work  together  to  resolve  the  problem.  Executive  Director  Tamara  Cotman 
later  confronted  Milstead  about  his  comments.  She  told  him  that  some  of  the 
principals  were  very  upset  about  his  statements  with  regard  to  the  CRCT  scores. 
Cotman  berated  Milstead  for  speaking  out  about  these  matters  at  the  meeting. 

(We  have  heard  the  same  concerns  from  scores  of  teachers  regarding 
students"  achievement  not  matching  their  high  CRCT  scores  from  prior  years.) 

After  Cotman  informed  him  that  his  services  would  no  longer  be  needed  in 
the  district,  Michael  Milstead  resigned. 

Former  High-Level  Official 

On  January  1 5,  2010,  an  attorney  for  a  former  high-ranking  district  official 

sent  a  letter  to  Dr.  Hall  alleging  that  APS  retaliated  against  this  official  when  the 


361 


official  objected  to  unethical  conduct  by  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer  Millicent 
Few.  Specifically,  this  letter  asserted  that  Ms.  Few  improperly  ordered  the 
destruction  of  all  versions  of  an  investigative  report  done  by  attorney  Penn  Payne 
with  regard  to  allegations  of  cheating  during  the  administration  of  the  summer 
2008  CRCT  at  Deerwood  Academy. 

When  the  official  objected  to  destroying  these  documents,  this  official 
believed  he/she  became  the  subject  of  a  sham  investigation  based  on  a  trumped-up 
complaint  by  a  former  employee  whom  APS  had  ordered  the  official  to  terminate. 
Although  APS  denied  retaliating  against  this  official,  the  district  paid  over  $30,000 
to  settle  the  claim  and  $5,000  in  attorney's  fees.  The  charges  in  the  letter  are 
consistent  with  evidence  we  have  obtained  through  other  sources. 

While  we  have  not  independently  investigated  these  charges,  the  timing  of 
this  official's  termination  is  highly  suspect,  and  provides  validity  to  her  claims. 
Even  more  suspicious  is  that  APS  investigated  the  allegations  made  against  the 
official  by  a  former  employee,  but  never  investigated  the  allegations  in  the  January 
15,  2010  letter,  that  Millicent  Few  ordered  the  destruction  of  documents  related  to 
cheating. 

Patrick  Crawford 

Patrick  Crawford  worked  for  APS  from  1 99 1  until  June  30,  20 1 0,  when  he 
was  fired.  He  was  a  fixed  assets  accountant  and  one  of  his  duties  was  to  conduct 


362 


internal  audits.  He  visited  schools  to  perforin  spot  checks  for  property  that  APS 
owned. 

Prior  to  2008,  the  threshold  for  reporting  and  tracking  equipment  was  $250, 
including  computers  regardless  of  value.  In  2008,  APS  changed  that  threshold 
from  $250  to  $5,000.  As  a  result,  1 29,000  pieces  of  equipment  no  longer  had  to  be 
accounted  for,  most  of  which  were  computers  and  flat  screen  televisions. 

On  April  22,  2010,  Mr.  Crawford  submitted  a  report  detailing  24  million 
dollars  in  fixed  assets  that  were  missing.  That  report  also  explained  that  APS  had 
increased  its  threshold  for  reporting  and  tracking  equipment  to  $5,000.  On  May  3, 
20 1 0,  Dr.  Hall  acknowledged  receiving  Mr.  Crawford's  report  but  disagreed  with 
his  conclusion.  Four  days  later,  Mr.  Crawford,  and  the  other  two  co-authors  of  the 
report,  were  placed  on  administrative  leave  and  ultimately  terminated.  Crawford 
was  told  that  his  position  was  eliminated  due  to  "budget  constraints."  He  believed 
these  terminations  were  a  result  of  the  report  he  submitted. 

Santhia  Curtis 

Ms.  Santhia  Curtis  served  as  Deputy  General  Counsel  for  APS  from  2007 
until  April  22,  201 1,  when  she  was  dismissed.  Ms.  Curtis  supervised  some  of  the 
legal  staff  at  APS  and  never  received  negative  evaluations  or  disciplinary  actions 
regarding  her  job  performance.  She  has  an  excellent  reputation  in  the  legal 
community.    However,  in  the  months  leading  up  to  her  termination,  Ms.  Curtis 


363 


engaged  in  two  protected  activities  that  she  believes  led  General  Counsel  Veleter 
Mazyck,  and  others,  to  retaliate  against  her.  (Ex.  14). 

In  October  20 1 0,  a  member  of  the  legal  staff  said  that  he  had  been 
discriminated  against  by  the  APS  General  Counsel.  Ms.  Curtis,  as  this  employee's 
direct  supervisor,  reported  these  concerns  to  the  Director  of  Human  Resources. 
Because  Ms.  Mazyck  was  Ms.  Curtis'  immediate  supervisor,  Ms.  Curtis  also 
notified  Mazyck  of  the  complaint.  Ms.  Mazyck  showed  obvious  displeasure  and 
informed  Ms.  Curtis  that  it  was  inappropriate  for  her  to  have  reported  the 
allegations  to  the  Director  of  Human  Resources. 

An  investigation  into  the  discrimination  complaint  was  completed  in  late 
January  or  early  February,  2011.  Contrary  to  APS  investigative  policies,  however, 
no  written  report  was  issued.  The  internal  investigator  was  told  to  report  his 
findings  back  to  the  district  through  an  oral  report  only.  The  file  was  closed  on  the 
investigation  on  April  15,  201 1 .  One  week  later,  APS  fired  Ms.  Curtis. 

Veleter  Mazyck  met  with  us  on  May  1 8,  2011.  During  that  interview,  she 
stated  that  Ms.  Curtis  was  terminated  because  APS  was  "eliminating  the  Deputy 
General  Counsel  position  for  budget  considerations."  However,  Chuck  Burbridge, 
APS'  Chief  Financial  Officer,  and  the  person  with  the  greatest  knowledge  of  the 
APS  budget,  said  that  he  had  "no  idea"  why  Ms.  Curtis  had  been  terminated.  He 
made  no  mention  of  budgetary  concerns  or  her  position  having  been  eliminated. 


364 


TEACHERS 

The  events  discussed  above  are  not  isolated.  Throughout  this  investigation 
numerous  teachers  told  us  they  raised  concerns  about  cheating  and  other 
misconduct  to  their  principal  or  SRT  executive  director  only  to  end  up  disciplined 

or  terminated. 

In  sum,  a  culture  of  fear,  intimidation  and  retaliation  permeated  the  APS 
system  from  the  highest  ranks  down.  Cheating  was  allowed  to  proliferate  until,  in 
the  words  of  one  former  APS  principal,  "it  became  intertwined  in  Atlanta  Public 
Schools  ...  a  part  of  what  the  culture  is  all  about." 

ETHICS 

Teachers  and  principals  denied  receiving  any  ethics  training.  Dr.  Hall  failed 
to  balance  the  data-driven  environment  she  created  with  an  equal  focus  on  the 
importance  of  integrity  in  achieving  these  goals.  In  fact,  the  opposite  occurred. 
Teachers  who  conducted  themselves  ethically,  but  failed  to  achieve  required 
results,  were  sanctioned.  Those  who  reported  unethical  conduct  often  became  a 
target  of  retaliation,  intimidation  and  harassment.  As  a  result  of  the  APS  failure  to 
temper  its  drive  for  success  with  ethical  guidelines,  the  message  was:  Get  the 
scores  up  by  any  means  necessary.  In  Dr.  Hall's  words:  "No  exceptions  and  no 
excuses." 


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EARLY  WARNINGS 
Sudden  and  dramatic  test  score  gains  across  schools  and  grade  levels  should 

have  alerted  Dr.  Hall  and  her  administration  to  investigate  the  cause  of  these  shifts. 

We  interviewed  numerous  teachers,  principals  and  upper-level  administrators, 

including  superintendents  of  other  districts,  who  reviewed  the  CRCT  test  score 

gains  in  APS.  They  universally  agreed  that  such  large  gains  over  a  short  period  of 

time  should  have  been  red  flag  warnings  to  APS  administrators.    As  Dr.  John 

Fremer  of  Caveon  Test  Security  recently  stated:  "an  individual  student  can  exceed 

beyond  their  wildest  dreams  in  any  given  year,  but  when  a  whole  group  shifts  its 

position  dramatically,  you  have  to  worry."  (When  Test  Scores  Seem  Too  Good  to 

Believe.  USA  Today,  Mar.  6,  2011). 

As  early  as  2001,  an  AJC  story  questioned  the  gains  posted  by  a  number  of 
APS  schools  in  the  4th  grade  on  the  2001  CRCT.  (Ex.  15).  The  story  reported  that 
of  the  68  APS  elementary  schools  tested  in  200 1 ,  almost  half  posted  dramatic  gains 
of  30  or  more  percentage  points  in  one  or  more  CRCT  subjects  at  a  grade  level. 
Ten  of  those  schools  had  gains  of  40  or  more  percentage  points.  APS  publicly 
defended  the  increases,  attributing  the  sudden  gains  to  improved  teaching  strategies 
and  new  instructional  models.  APS  did  not  investigate  whether  cheating  or  other 
misconduct  could  have  been  the  cause  of  these  remarkable  gains. 

These  types  of  dramatic  increases  continued  in  the  district  over  the  next 
decade.    We  reviewed  the  CRCT  results  from  2004  to  2010  for  all  schools 


366 


currently  under  investigation.  We  found  incredible  swings  in  student  performance 
for  these  years  in  many  schools.  For  example: 

•  From  2006-2007,  the  percentage  of  students  "exceeding 
expectations"  in  English/language  arts  at  Peyton  Forest  Elementary 
School  climbed  51  percentage  points,  from  28%  to  79%; 

•  From  2004-2005,  F.L.  Stanton  Elementary  School  posted  a  42 
percentage  point  gain  in  the  number  of  students  "exceeding" 
standards  in  math; 

•  From  2005-2006,  all  grades  at  Parks  Middle  School  posted  a  30.84 
percentage  point  increase  in  math; 

•  From  2004-2005,  all  grades  at  East  Lake  Elementary  School  posted 
a  20.78  percentage  point  increase  in  math,  a  20.23  percentage  point 
increase  in  English/language  arts,  a  16.82  percentage  point  increase 
in  reading; 

•  From  2006-2007,  Dunbar  Elementary  School  posted  a  20  percentage 
point  gain  in  reading.  By  2009,  88.26%  were  passing; 

•  From  2006-2007,  C.W.  Hill  Elementary  School  posted  a  16 
percentage  point  increase  in  reading; 

•  From  2007-2008,  Ben  teen  Elementary  School  posted  a  16 
percentage  point  increase  in  reading; 

•  From  2005-2006,  Parks  Middle  School  increased  the  percentage  of 
students  "exceeding  expectations"  in  math  by  2 1  percentage  points; 

•  From  2006-2007,  Parks  Middle  School  increased  the  number  of 
students  exceeding  in  English/language  arts  by  16  percentage  points, 
followed  by  an  additional  gain  of  19%  the  next  year; 

•  From  2007-2008,  Parks  Middle  School  increased  its  percentage  of 
students  "exceeding  expectations"  in  reading  by  22  percentage 
points; 

•  From  2007-2008,  East  Lake  Elementary  School  increased  the 
percentage  of  children  "exceeding  expectations"  in  English/language 
arts  by  22  percentage  points  and  in  reading  by  26  percentage  points. 


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The  following  year.  East  Lakes"  percentage  of  students  "exceeding 
expectations"  in  math  increased  again  by  1 7.86  percentage  points; 
and 

•  From  2007-2008,  Benteen  Elementary  School  increased  its 
percentage  of  students  "exceeding  expectations"  on  the  CRCT  by  18 
percentage  points. 

Throughout  our  investigation,  numerous  teachers,  principals  and  former 

officials  told  us  that  gains  such  as  these  over  a  short  period  of  time  raised  questions 

as  to  whether  the  test  scores  were  genuine  or  achieved  by  cheating.    Yet  APS 

leadership  never  questioned  or  investigated  these  extraordinary  increases  to  ensure 

that  they  were  honestly  achieved. 

ALLEGATIONS  OF  COVER-UP 
Dr.  Hall  and  her  senior  cabinet  received  numerous  reports  of  cheating.  We 

found  cheating  allegations  being  made  to  top  leadership  in  the  district  beginning  as 

early  as  2005,  and  continuing  through  this  investigation.  In  many  instances,  those 

reports  were  ignored,  superficially  investigated,  or  hidden  from  view. 

Parks  Middle  School 

APS  received  three  complaints  of  cheating  and  other  improprieties 

concerning  Parks  Middle  School  and  Principal  Christopher  Waller  at  the  end  of 
2005  and  the  beginning  of  2006.  Dr.  Hall  personally  received  the  first  complaint 
on  December  22,  2005  from  the  Atlanta  Federation  of  Teachers,  and  forwarded 
this  complaint  to  Dr.  Augustine  and  Millicent  Few.  (Ex.  16). 


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On  January  13,  2006,  Dr.  Hall  received  a  second  complaint  which  was  an 
anonymous  letter.  (Ex.  1 7).  This  letter  alleged  that  Christopher  Waller  was 
manipulating  the  Supplemental  Education  Services  after-school  tutoring  program 
(SES),  which  provided  free  services  to  certain  students,  paid  for  with  federal 
money.  The  letter  also  described  attempts  by  Principal  Waller  to  "[p]ersuade, 
intimidate  and  coerce  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  upcoming  spring  2006  G.C.R.C.T." 

The  third  complaint  letter  alleged  that  Waller  gave  the  eighth  grade  teachers 
a  document  entitled  "Tips  for  Passing  the  8th  Grade  Writing  Test."  (Ex.  18).  The 
eighth  grade  students  were  allegedly  given  the  "tips"  and  told  to  focus  on  question 
number  seven,  which  was  similar  to  the  official  question  on  the  writing  test. 
Question  number  seven  on  the  "tips"  asked  students  to  think  of  a  "rule"  they 
thought  was  unfair,  while  the  actual  test  question  asked  the  students  to  think  of  a 
"law"  they  thought  was  unfair.  Teachers  coached  students  to  think  about  the 
question  in  terms  of  a  "law,"  the  exact  question  they  were  asked  to  write  about. 
According  to  the  complaint.  Waller  told  his  staff  that  elementary  schools  were 
cheating  and  that  unless  teachers  at  Parks  cheated  the  school  would  continue  to 
look  bad. 

Investigation  at  Parks 
Damaris  Perry m an-Garrett,  the  head  of  01 R  from  June  2000  through  June 

2007,  supervised  the  investigation  into  Parks  Middle  School.   She  hired  Reginal 


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Dukes  to  conduct  an  investigation  of  the  complaints  for  APS.1  Dukes  conducted 
interviews  at  the  beginning  of  2006,  and  outlined  his  preliminary  findings  in  a 
March  memo.  He  wrote  that  the  after-school  tutorial  program  was  being  abused 
and  the  "[eighth]  grade  writing  assessment  may  have  been  compromised  after 
Waller  persuaded,  [or]  coerced  teachers  to  cheat  on  the  test."  (Ex.  19).  Perry  in  an- 
Garrett  told  us  she  remembered  receiving  Dukes'  preliminary  report,  which 
confirmed  some  of  the  allegations  made  with  regard  to  Mr.  Waller.  Despite  the 
forewarning  that  cheating  might  occur,  the  district  took  no  action  to  secure  the 
upcoming  CRCT  testing  environment  with  respect  to  the  allegations  made  against 
Principal  Christopher  Waller. 

On  May  5,  2006,  Dukes  sent  APS  a  second  report  that  confirmed  the 
allegations  the  district  had  received  in  January  2006.  (Ex.  20). 

Dukes  found  the  following: 

•  Three  eighth  grade  teachers  saw  and  received  the  writing  tips; 

•  Thirteen  students  he  spoke  to  were  aware  of  the  tips  and  told 
Dukes  they  got  them  from  their  eighth  grade  language  arts 
teachers; 

•  Most  students  said  they  were  directed  to  practice  responding  to 
question  number  seven; 

•  Most  students  admitted  that  a  very  similar  question  was  on  the 
actual  writing  test;  and, 

•  Some  students  said  they  received  the  tips  before  Christmas, 
while  others  said  they  received  them  a  week  before  the  test. 


Dukes  is  a  former  client  of  Balch  &  Bingham  LLP. 


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Dukes  found: 

[W]e  conclude  that  students  were  coached  on  the  topics 
that  were  actually  on  the  formal  writing  exam.  The 
language  arts  teacher  most  mentioned  in  providing  this 
information  is  no  longer  at  the  school.  The  investigation 
did  not  determine  how  he  gained  access  to  this 
information.  We  do  also  conclude  that  there  is  reason  for 
concern  about  the  securing  of  these  tests  before  the  exam 
at  Parks  Middle  School. 

Dukes  made  further  findings  that  should  have  raised  questions  about 
Principal  Christopher  Waller  and  his  conduct.  Specifically,  Dukes*  investigation 
revealed  that  student  attendance  data  and  grades  were  manipulated,  and  that  the 
after-school  tutorial  services  were  mismanaged  and  money  was  mi  sal  located. 

Meeting  with  Senior  Leadership 

Dukes  met  with  top  APS  officials  to  discuss  his  findings  on  Parks  Middle 

School,  and  he  recalled  that  Dr.  Hall,  Ms.  Few,  Ms.  Perryman-Garrett  and  Dr. 
Augustine  were  in  attendance.  Dr.  Hall.  Few  and  Augustine  all  denied  attending 
any  meeting  with  Dukes.  Dukes  was  positive  these  individuals  were  there,  but  said 
that  Dr.  Augustine  was  "in  and  out"  of  the  meeting.  Dukes*  billing  records  show 
that  he  attended  a  meeting  at  APS  headquarters  building  on  May  10,  2006,  and  lists 
Dr.  Hall,  Few  and  SR  I  Executive  Director  Michael  Pitts  as  being  there.  (Ex.  21 ). 

Ms.  Perryman-Garrett  remembered  attending  a  meeting  with  Dukes 
regarding  his  Parks  Middle  School  investigation.  She  specifically  recalled  Ms. 
Few  being  at  this  meeting  and  said  that  either  Dr.  Augustine  or  Michael  Pitts,  the 
SRT  Executive  Director  over  Parks  Middle  School,  would  have  been  there  also. 


371 


Perryman-Garrett,  who  described  Dr.  Augustine  to  us  as  the  "god-mother"  of  APS, 
said  that  everything  had  to  be  run  past  her.  We  have  heard  similar  testimony  about 
Augustine  from  several  witnesses  and  according  to  Perryman-Garrett,  it  would 
have  been  likely  for  Augustine  to  have  been  at  this  meeting. 

Perryman-Garrett  did  not  recall  Dr.  Hall  being  at  the  meeting,  but  told  us 
she  would  not  question  Dukes'  recollection  of  it.  She  described  Dukes  as 
"thorough  and  trustworthy"  and  she  "assigned  him  the  tough  cases." 

Dukes  said  that  during  the  meeting  he  handed  a  copy  of  his  May  5,  2006 
report  to  Dr.  Hall,  but  she  never  opened  the  report  and  did  not  read  a  single  page 
while  he  was  there.  He  explained  his  findings  about  the  mishandling  of  the  after- 
school  tutorial  program  and  improper  accounting  for  student  attendance  at  Parks 
Middle  School.  Dukes  said  Dr.  Hall  had  a  "glazed  over"  look  as  he  was  discussing 
his  report. 

Dukes  explained  the  cheating  allegations  and  told  the  group  that  the  only 
way  the  "tip  sheet"  could  have  been  prepared  was  for  someone  to  open  a  test 
booklet  and  see  the  specific  subject  about  which  the  students  were  to  write  an 
essay.  Christopher  Waller  was  one  of  only  two  people  with  access  to  the  test 
booklets. 

Dr.  Hall  wanted  to  know  if  Dukes  had  "any  direct  proof"  of  cheating  or 
whether  anyone  had  confessed.  He  responded  that  there  were  no  confessions,  but 
that  no  one  could  explain  where  the  writing  tip  came  from .  (Dr.  Hall  has  stated 


372 


frequently  that  absent  "any  direct  proof"  she  would  not  believe  that  cheating  had 
occurred. )  Dukes  was  instructed  to  continue  his  inquiry.  He  completed  his 
investigation  on  June  30,  2006.  (Ex.  22). 

When  we  interviewed  Dr.  Hall,  she  denied  attending  a  meeting  with  Dukes 
and  said  that  once  Christopher  Waller  arrived  as  principal,  she  only  heard  good 
things  about  Parks  Middle  School.  Hall  said  she  did  not  recall  any  concerns  over 
how  federal  funds  were  being  spent  or  allegations  of  cheating  on  the  Eighth  Grade 
Writing  Test.  Even  if  she  was  not  at  the  meeting.  Dr.  Hall  said  she  believes  that 
her  staff  would  have  told  her  about  the  subjects  discussed.  Few  and  Augustine, 
who  also  denied  being  at  the  meeting,  agreed  that  had  they  attended  the  meeting, 
they  would  have  told  Dr.  Hall  about  the  discussion. 

Despite  these  denials,  Ms.  Perryman-Garrett  told  us  that  one  result  of  the 
Dukes  investigation  was  that  the  company  that  provided  after-school  tutorial 
services  at  Parks  Middle  School,  in  which  Principal  Christopher  Waller  had  a 
financial  interest,  was  no  longer  allowed  to  do  business  with  the  district.  This  is 
strong  evidence  that  action  was  taken  as  a  result  of  Dukes*  investigation  and  that 
APS  was  aware  of  what  had  happened  at  Parks.  Dr.  Kathy  Augustine  confirmed 
knowledge  of  the  after-school  program  matter  at  Parks  Middle  School,  and  that  a 
conflict  actually  existed  and  Waller  was  told  to  "stop."  However,  this  matter  is  not 
mentioned  in  the  principal* s  personnel  file.  Additionally,  there  is  no  evidence  that 


373 


APS  took  any  action  with  regard  to  the  allegations  of  cheating  and  other 

misconduct  of  Principal  Waller. 

Retaliation  by  Waller 
Dukes  believed  Principal  Christopher  Waller  was  attempting  to  determine 

the  source  of  the  complaints  against  him.  Our  investigation  revealed  that  Tameka 

Butler  Grant,  a  teacher  at  Parks  Middle  School,  submitted  the  last  two  complaints 

against  Waller.  According  to  Ms.  Grant,  Christopher  Waller  told  her  that  he  was 

"going  to  get  rid"  of  her.  And  at  the  end  of  the  2006  school  year,  he  did.  Grant 

was  transferred  to  another  school  and  ultimately  terminated  from  the  district. 

Waller  also  "got  rid"  of  Kelley  Collins  and  Fabiola  Aurelien.  Like  Grant, 

Collins  and  Aurelien  gave  Dukes  information  supporting  the  allegations  against 

Waller.  Later,  Principal  Waller  flaunted  his  removal  of  certain  employees  from  the 

school,  stating  in  an  article  published  by  the  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation: 

If  you  have  folks  on  the  team  who  don't  think  you  can 
win,  you  are  in  trouble  .  ...  So  we  had  to  get  some 
people  off  the  bus  first.  Then,  we  had  to  get  the  right 
people  on  the  bus. 

(A  copy  of  this  article  is  attached  to  the  Parks  Middle  School  summary.) 

Dramatic  Gains  at  Parks 
If  the  complaints  of  cheating  on  the  2006  Eighth  Grade  Writing  Test  were 

not  enough  to  raise  suspicions  about  cheating  by  Christopher  Waller,  beginning 

with  the  2006  CRCT  exam,  Parks  Middle  School  also  had  stunning  increases  in  its 

scores  on  the  CRCT.  (Ex.  23). 


374 


•  Comparing  the  2005  and  2006  CRCT,  the  percentage  of  eighth 
graders  passing  reading  increased  3 1  percentage  points, 
climbing  from  50%  in  2005  to  81%  in  2006. 

•  In  one  year,  the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  passing  in 
English/language  arts  increased  by  27  percentage  points, 
climbing  from  54%  to  81%. 

•  In  one  year,  the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  passing  in  math 
increased  by  62  percentage  points,  climbing  from  24%  to  86%. 

•  In  one  year,  the  percentage  of  eighth  graders  exceeding 
expectations  in  math  increased  by  45  percentage  points,  from 
1%  to  46%. 

One  year  gains  of  3 1 ,  27,  62  and  45  percentage  points  should  have  raised 
suspicions  for  district  administrators.  This  is  particularly  true  since  the  district  had 
been  explicitly  warned  that  the  security  of  the  Eighth  Grade  Writing  Test  had  been 
breached.  Dr.  Hall  told  us  that  she  would  be  suspicious  of  gains  of  this  magnitude 
if  she  had  been  aware  of  a  prior  testing  security  breach.  Nonetheless,  she  took  no 
action  when  she  learned  of  the  implausible  gains  at  Parks.  Instead,  Dr.  Hall  held 
up  Parks  and  Waller  as  shining  examples  of  APS  progress. 

In  an  article  published  by  the  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation,  a  private 
charitable  organization  that  supports  Parks  Middle  School,  Dr.  Hall  is  quoted  as 
saying: 

When  I  can  stand  up  in  front  of  my  principals  and  read 
the  list  of  highest-performing  schools  in  the  district,  a  list 
that  runs  the  gamut  from  schools  in  the  highest  income 
areas  to  schools  in  the  lowest  income  areas,  there  are  no 
excuses. 

Dr.  Hall  even  praised  Waller's  management  style: 


375 


You  have  to  find  someone  who  is  able  to  lead.... That 
sounds  vague,  but  they  must  be  able  to  go  in  and,  while 
not  being  a  dictator,  get  people's  attention  and  articulate 
a  vision  and  mission  in  a  way  that  people  want  to  be  on 
board  with  it.... 

The  "progress"  reported  about  Parks  caused  money  to  flow  into  Parks 
Middle  School  and  to  Waller's  pocket.  Gail  Hayes,  the  executive  director  of  the 
Atlanta  office  of  the  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation,  said  that  sometime  after  2006, 
Waller  threatened  to  leave  Parks  Middle  School .  The  Annie  E.  Casey  Foundation, 
with  the  knowledge  of  Dr.  Hall  and  others,  interceded  and  contributed  $10,000  to 
Waller,  in  addition  to  his  salary.  Ms.  Hayes  did  not  know  about  the  Dukes 
investigation.  Even  though  Ms.  Hayes  was  on  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission,  she 
did  not  learn  about  the  2006  issues  at  Parks  Middle  School  until  our  interview  with 
her.  Dr.  Hall,  and  her  administration,  kept  this  information  from  the  Foundation 
and  Ms.  Hayes. 

In  2008,  Parks  was  the  only  middle  school  in  the  district  to  make  100%  of  its 
targets.  This  resulted  in  Principal  Christopher  Waller's  collecting  incentive 
payments,  and  additional  payments  went  to  members  of  the  school  staff.  Dr.  Hall 
lauded  this  "progress"  to  the  Board  of  Education,  noting  that  Parks  Middle  School 
was  one  of  three  schools  receiving  the  district's  "highest  honors."  Waller  also 
received  the  Atlanta  Family  Award,  resulting  in  several  thousand  dollars  going  to 
him  personally.  APS  continued  to  tout  Parks  Middle  School  as  an  example  of  the 
success  its  reform  models  provided. 


376 


Dukes  said  that  sometime  in  2009,  he  was  called  by  OIR  Director  Colinda 
Howard's  assistant,  YaQuanda  Williams,  asking  for  the  reports  on  three  different 
investigations  he  had  completed  because  OIR  could  not  locate  the  documents.  In 
searching  for  his  files.  Dukes  discovered  that  APS  never  paid  him  for  the  work  he 
performed  in  2006.  Dukes  took  his  copies  of  these  reports  to  APS  (including  his 
Parks  Middle  School  investigation)  and  requested  a  meeting  with  Howard  with 
regard  to  his  fee.  The  district  paid  Dukes  in  May  2009. 

On  May  23,  201 1,  we  served  a  subpoena  on  the  district  for  all  records 
regarding  Dukes*  investigation.  One  day  later.  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer 
Millicent  Few  asked  her  assistant  Nicole  Lawson  (now  Director  of  OIR)  to  "close 
out"  the  2006  Parks  Middle  School  investigation.  Lawson  drafted  a  "note  to  the 
file,"  which  closed  the  investigation,  without  either  Lawson  or  Few  reading  the 
Dukes  report.  (Ex.  24).  Lawson" s  note  made  absolutely  no  sense  whatsoever. 
This  was  one  day  after  our  subpoena,  and  five  years  after  the  district  received 
Dukes"  report. 

In  sum: 

•  Dr.  Hall,  Dr.  Augustine  and  Ms.  Few  all  received  complaints 
about  cheating  at  Parks  in  2006; 

•  An  investigation  was  started; 

•  The  investigator,  Reginal  Dukes,  wrote  three  reports  of  his 
findings,  which  confirmed  the  allegations; 

•  APS  did  nothing  about  Parks  Middle  School  for  three  years; 


377 


•  In  2009,  these  reports  could  not  be  found  in  the  district; 

•  In  2009,  Dukes  resubmitted  the  reports,  at  the  district's  request; 
and 

•  In  201  1,  after  receiving  our  subpoena,  APS  "closed"  the  file. 
As  a  result  of  APS'  failure  to  act  on  Dukes"  report: 

•  Christopher  Waller,  Parks  Middle  School's  principal,  remained 
in  charge; 

•  Waller  removed  those  individuals  he  believed  reported  his 
improper  conduct  to  APS  officials; 

•  Waller  collected  money  and  accolades  for  himself  and  the 
district  based  on  false  test  results;  and 

•  Waller  continued  to  orchestrate  cheating  on  the  CRCT  test,  at 
least  until  he  was  transferred  to  APS  headquarters  in  2009  as  a 
result  of  the  BRC  report. 

Deerwood  Academy 

In  2008,  there  were  questions  about  1  1  Deerwood  Academy  students*  CRCT 

scores  from  the  summer  retest.  Five  schools  sent  students  to  Deerwood  to  retake 

the  CRCT.   When  the  scores  were  reported,  the  1 1  Deerwood  students*  scores 

stood  out  as  being  statistically  improbable.    GOSA  commissioned  an  erasure 

analysis,  which  revealed  that  those  1 1  students  also  had  high  WTR  erasures. 

GOSA  conducted  its  own  preliminary  investigation  into  the  cause  of  the  erasures, 

ultimately  determining  that  the  data  collected  overwhelmingly  showed  that 

someone  changed  the  students"  answers  on  the  Fifth  Grade  Math  Test  at 

Deerwood.  GOSA  issued  a  preliminary  report  on  this  investigation  in  June  2009. 


378 


The  district  hired  attorney  Perm  Payne  to  conduct  an  investigation.  She 
concluded  that  no  cheating  had  occurred  at  Deerwood  Academy.  However,  APS 
had  her  make  many  changes  to  her  report,  which  placed  the  district  in  a  more 
favorable  light.  On  July  2,  2009,  while  her  investigation  into  the  2008  CRCT 
retest  at  Deerwood  was  still  ongoing,  Ms.  Payne  met  with  Dr.  Kathy  Augustine, 
Director  of  RPA  Lester  McK.ee,  and  Director  of  OIR  Colinda  Howard.  There  are 
differing  accounts  of  the  meeting.  According  to  Ms.  Payne,  Dr.  Augustine  asked 
for  this  meeting  in  order  to  be  briefed  on  the  Deerwood  matter.  Kathy  Augustine 
told  us  that  Ms.  Payne  wanted  to  interview  her,  and  at  the  end  of  the  interview,  she 
asked  that  Payne  give  her  a  brief  overview  of  the  Deerwood  investigation. 
However,  according  to  Ms.  Payne,  she  neither  asked  to  meet  with  Dr.  Augustine, 
nor  did  she  interview  her  at  any  time  during  the  Deerwood  investigation. 

When  Payne  and  Colinda  Howard  arrived  at  the  meeting,  Lester  McKee  was 
present.  Payne  gave  them  an  overview  of  the  status  of  the  investigation.  Mr. 
McKee  and  Dr.  Augustine  presented  Payne  with  a  draft  letter  to  GOSA  Executive 
Director  Kathleen  Mathers,  for  the  purpose  of  reporting  on  the  Deerw  ood  matter  to 
the  State.  This  document  falsely  claimed  that  Payne's  investigation  had  been 
completed,  and  that  no  evidence  of  cheating  had  been  found. 

Payne  took  a  quick  look  at  the  draft  and  immediately  told  Dr.  Augustine, 
McKee  and  Howard  that  the  letter  was  not  correct,  as  her  investigation  was  not 
complete.  Ms.  Payne  had  not  yet  reached  a  conclusion  as  to  what  had  transpired  at 


379 


Deerwood.  In  fact,  she  was  still  attempting  to  interview  key  witnesses.  Payne  said 
that  she  would  review  the  letter  more  closely  that  evening  and  then  email  her 
comments  to  both  McK.ee  and  Augustine.  Augustine  gave  Payne  her  private  email 
address. 

That  evening,  Payne  carefully  reviewed  the  letter  and  suggested  changes, 
specifically  noting  the  parts  of  the  letter  that  incorrectly  stated  that  her 
investigation  was  complete  and  that  no  cheating  had  been  found.  Payne  then 
emailed  the  revised  version  of  the  letter  to  McK.ee  and  Augustine.  (Ex.  25).  Payne 
heard  nothing  further  about  the  letter  until  later. 

Unknown  to  Ms.  Payne,  on  July  6,  2009,  Dr.  Hall  signed  the  letter  without 
Ms.  Payne's  suggested  changes.  (Ex.  26).  it  was  not  until  a  year  later,  in  20 1 0, 
when  Payne  began  preparing  to  testify  at  a  PSC  hearing  related  to  Deerwood 
Academy,  that  she  saw  a  copy  of  Dr.  Hall's  July  6,  2009,  letter.  Payne's  response 
upon  reading  the  letter:  "Oh  Shit."  She  realized  that,  in  spite  of  her  verbal  and 
written  warnings  to  McK.ee  and  Augustine  that  the  investigation  was  not  complete, 
they  had  allowed  the  false  and  misleading  letter  to  be  sent  to  Kathleen  Mathers, 
executive  director  of  GOSA. 

Contrary  to  what  Payne  told  both  McKee  and  Augustine  at  the  meeting,  and 
in  her  later  email.  Hall's  letter  to  GOSA  claimed  that,  "the  portion  of  that 
investigation  focusing  on  the  "cheating  charge*  is  completed  and  concludes  that 
there  is  no  evidence,  no  basis  in  fact,  that  someone  actually  altered  students* 


380 


answers."  This  was  a  false  statement,  and  both  McK.ee  and  Augustine  knew  it.  It 
became  crucial  for  Dr.  Hall,  and  her  top  leadership,  that  Payne's  findings  match 
the  results  that  Dr.  Hall  had  falsely  reported  in  her  letter  to  GOSA. 

Payne  did  not  submit  her  report  to  the  district  until  nine  days  later  on  July 
15,  2009.  At  the  time  Payne  submitted  this  report,  she  believed  it  to  be  the  "final" 
report.  However,  that  evening,  she  received  an  email  from  Col  in  da  Howard  asking 
Payne  to  make  specific  revisions  to  the  document.  Payne  made  the  revisions,  as 
requested,  and  resubmitted  the  report.  Again.  Ms.  Payne  believed  it  to  be  her  final 
report.  But  that  was  not  the  case. 

School  officials  kept  asking  Ms.  Payne  for  more  changes  and  additions  to 
the  report.  Ms.  Payne  revised  her  report  at  least  three  more  times  before  APS 
ultimately  accepted  it  as  "final"  on  August  20,  2009. 

Once  Payne's  initial  Deerwood  Academy  report  of  July  15,  2009  was 
submitted  to  APS  General  Counsel,  Veleter  Mazyck  became  more  involved  in  the 
Deerwood  matter,  according  to  a  confidential  informant.  The  informant  says  that 
as  Ms.  Mazyck  *s  involvement  increased,  the  involvement  of  OIR  decreased,  and 
Ms.  Mazyck  took  control  over  the  final  report.  The  week  that  the  Penn  Payne 
report  was  finally  released,  Ms.  Mazyck  told  our  informant  that  she  had  "spent  all 
weekend  working  on  the  Penn  Payne  report." 

The  confidential  informant,  who  worked  closely  with  OIR  and  was  in  a 
position  to  know  the  events  of  that  time,  has  provided  information  on  a  number  of 


381 


matters  which  we  have  verified  through  other  sources.  This  informant  told  us  that 
once  the  final  Deerwood  report  was  accepted  by  APS,  it  was  considerably 
"watered  down"  from  Payne's  original  version.  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer 
Millicent  Few  illegally  ordered  all  other  versions  from  Payne  be  destroyed,  except 
for  the  final  version,  dated  August  20,  2009. 

We  received  several  editions  of  Payne's  report  from  the  district.  However, 
many  of  the  earlier  versions  were  missing,  which  is  consistent  with  what  the 
informant  told  us.  When  we  first  interviewed  Ms.  Payne  on  February  22,  201 1. 
she  was  subpoenaed  to  produce  all  of  her  records  on  the  Deerwood  investigation. 
But  when  interviewed  again  on  June  10,  201  1 ,  she  provided  additional  documents 
that  she  had  discovered  the  day  before  on  her  computer.  Among  these  records 
were  other  versions  of  her  report  and  various  communications  with  APS.  These 
versions  had  not  been  produced  to  us  by  the  district,  even  though  we  had  requested 
(via  subpoena)  all  such  records. 

We  find  that  the  information  provided  by  our  confidential  informant  is 
correct  and  that  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer  Millicent  Few  illegally  ordered 
the  destruction  of  prior  versions  of  Perm.  Payne's  report.  We  also  believe  that  Dr. 
Augustine  knowingly  allowed  Dr.  Hall  to  sign  a  letter  to  GOSA  regarding  the 
Deerwood  investigation  that  was  false,  with  intent  to  mislead  the  state  as  to  the 
status  of  that  case.    Moreover,  the  district's  repeated  requests  for  revisions  of 


382 


Payne's  report  were  an  interference  with,  and  manipulation  of,  what  was  to  be  an 

independent  investigation. 

Alteration  and  Destruction  of  Documents 
The  Parks  and  Deerwood  investigations  were  not  the  last  time  the  district 

would  try  to  hide,  minimize  or  keep  secret,  evidence  of  cheating.  According  to  a 

confidential  informant  in  2009,  when  the  AJC  requested  OIR  complaints  related  to 

testing  misconduct,  APS  Chief  Human  Resources  Officer  Milliccnt  Few  instructed 

OIR  personnel  to  destroy  documents,  while  illegally  withholding  other  records 

from  production. 

In  the  spring  of  2009,  an  AJC  reporter  submitted  an  open  records  act  request 
to  APS  for  "all  OIR  complaints  involving  testing  misconduct"  in  APS  for  the  06- 
07,  07-08,  and  08-09  school  years.  (Ex.  27).  These  complaints  were  maintained 
on  a  computer  log  kept  by  OIR  to  indicate  open  investigations,  including  those 
regarding  testing  misconduct.  OIR  personnel  reviewed  that  log  to  identify  files 
that  alleged  testing  misconduct  and  ordered  that  the  responsive  documents  be 
retrieved.  When  OIR  gathered  the  files,  some  of  the  documents  listed  on  the  log 
were  missing. 

Although  OIR  has  its  own  director  and  staff,  it  is  directly  under  the  control 
of  Millicent  Few.  When  Ms.  Few  learned  that  certain  OIR  files  were  missing,  she 
directed  OIR  personnel  to  create  a  separate  list  of  files  from  the  computer  log,  and 


383 


to  omit  those  files  that  could  not  be  found.  The  original  log  was  directly 
responsive  to  the  AJC's  records  request  and  was  illegally  withheld. 

Ms.  Few  reviewed  the  various  OIR  files  that  had  been  assembled  and 
according  to  an  informant,  decided  not  to  produce  a  number  of  them.  Ms.  Few 
ordered  that  those  files  also  be  omitted  from  the  incorrect  list  being  prepared  for 
production  to  the  AJC.  According  to  an  informant,  strong  disagreement  was 
voiced  with  Ms.  Few  regarding  this  matter  and  she  was  told:  "We  can't  do  that. 
Under  the  open  records  act  this  is  not  proper,"  and  "this  will  not  work."  In  spite  of 
those  concerns.  Few  issued  her  directive:  "this  is  what  1  want  and  this  is  what  you 
are  going  to  do."  Ms.  Few  illegally  ordered  the  old  case  log  destroyed.  An  OIR 
secretary  prepared  the  revised  list,  which  was  provided  to  the  AJC  in  response  to 
the  open  records  act  request  in  May  2009.  (Ex.  28). 

When  the  AJC  received  the  district's  response,  the  reporter  reviewed  the 
files  and  found  the  list  to  be  incomplete.  The  reporter  knew  certain  complaints  had 
been  omitted  from  the  APS  list  because  of  information  she  had  obtained  from  other 
sources.  The  AJC  raised  questions  with  the  district  regarding  the  missing  files  and 
specifically  asked  that  the  records  be  provided.  Production  of  the  files  took  several 
months  and  the  reporter  began  to  raise  more  questions.  By  late  August  2009,  the 
reporter  noted  in  an  email  communication  to  APS:  "I  am  also  growing  more 
concerned  that  I  have  not  received  all  testing  misconduct  complaints  that  should 


384 


have  been  provided  under  state  law."  (Ex.  29).  APS  finally  produced  the  files 

with  the  exception  of  several  documents  that  allegedly  could  not  be  found. 

During  our  investigation,  Ms.  Few  denied  altering  or  destroying  documents, 

or  ordering  anyone  to  do  so.   However,  we  verified  the  information  provided  by 

the  confidential  informant  through  several  sources.   According  to  the  informant, 

APS  improperly  withheld  these  documents  because  the  files  made  the  district  "look 

bad"  since  APS  "either  did  a  poor  job  in  investigating  the  matter  or  gave  a  very 

minimal  sanction  for  the  wrongdoing." 

Porter  and  Reeves  Reports 
In  the  fall  of  2009,  more  allegations  of  cheating  at  some  schools  at  APS 

emerged.     The  Atlanta  Journal-Constitution  published  an  article  that  raised 

questions  about  extraordinary  gains  in  CRCT  scores  at  some  APS  schools.  (Ex. 

30).  Specifically,  the  AJC  hired  a  statistician  to  study  third,  fourth  and  fifth  grade 

scores  on  reading,  English/language  arts  and  math.  The  article  said  ten  schools  in 

the  district  posted  what  the  AJC  determined  to  be  improbable  gains  in  certain 

grades  and  subject  areas  and  suggested  that  cheating  could  be  one  explanation  for 

the  jumps  in  scores  in  these  schools. 

The  results  were  reported  by  the  AJC  in  terms  of  raw  test  scores,  not 

percentages.  Some  of  these  questionable  results  included: 

•       In  2008,  Peyton  Forest's  third  grade  math  results  were  among 
the  lowest  in  the  state.    However,  as  fourth  graders  in  2009, 


385 


these  same  students  had  the  fourth  highest  math  scores,  out  of 
nearly  1,200  elementary  schools  statewide; 

•  In  2008,  West  Manor's  fourth  grade  math  scores  ranked  830th. 
Yet  in  2009,  West  Manor  achieved  the  highest  scores  in  the 
state.  West  Manor's  fourth  grade  average  math  score  increased 
90  points,  six  times  the  average  increase; 

•  In  2008,  Toomer  Elementary  fourth  grade  students  posted  the 
highest  English/language  arts  scores  in  the  state,  only  to  see 
their  scores  plummet  by  58  points  as  fifth  graders  in  2009. 

Several  experts,  including  Walt  Haney  of  Boston  College,  told  the  AJC  that 
"[c]hanges  of  that  magnitude  are  just  extremely  suspicious."  As  for  Toomer 
Elementary's  drop  in  performance,  Tom  Haladyna,  a  professor  emeritus  at  Arizona 
State  University,  said  that  researchers  rarely  see  such  a  steep  drop.  According  to 
experts  in  testing,  precipitous  drops  in  scores  can  be  indicative  of  cheating  on  the 
prior  year's  test.  Once  again,  the  district  defended  the  results  and  relied  on 
alternative  factors  to  explain  them,  including  high  student  turnover  rates, 
instructional  practices  and  smaller  class  sizes. 

In  a  public  response  to  the  AJC's  article.  Dr.  Hall  announced  that  she  would 
be  hiring  two  experts  to  look  into  these  test  scores — Dr.  Douglas  Reeves,  an  expert 
on  instruction  and  education  reform,  and  Dr.  Andrew  Porter,  Dean  of  the  Graduate 
School  of  Education  at  the  University  of  Pennsylvania.  In  a  district  news  release. 
Dr.  I  Iall  said  that  both  Porter  and  Reeves  were  going  to  inform  the  district  in 
separate  reports  whether  the  large  gains  or  declines  in  student  testing  are  the  result 


386 


of  "[f] actors  not  considered  in  recent  news  reports"  and  that  both  reports  would  be 
made  public.  (Ex.31). 

Dr.  Douglas  Reeves  was  expected  to  evaluate  instructional  practices  and 
strategies  in  the  twelve  schools  identified  by  the  AJC  and  tell  APS  whether  those 
practices  could  lead  to  the  achievement  reflected  by  the  test  results.  Dr.  Hall  told 
us  that  she  thought  Reeves  had  observed  classrooms  to  see  if  there  was  evidence  of 
appropriate  instructional  practice.  She  also  said  she  thought  he  worked  in  the 
district  for  about  two  weeks. 

Reeves*  report  clearly  set  out  the  limitations  of  his  work,  which  are  not 
consistent  with  what  Dr.  Hall  told  us.  (Ex.  32).  In  actuality.  Reeves  spent  only 
thirty  to  forty-five  minutes  in  each  school  and  did  not  observe  any  classroom 
instruction  during  his  visit,  completing  his  assessment  in  just  two  days.  Dr. 
Reeves*  report,  based  only  on  interviews  and  no  classroom  observations,  was 
positive  for  the  district.  He  further  said  he  would  be  surprised  if  scores  did  not 
increase  based  on  these  practices.  APS  publicized  that  report  and  posted  it  on  the 
district's  website. 

A  second  APS  expert.  Dr.  Andrew  Porter,  conducted  a  statistical  analysis 
using  the  same  information  as  the  AJC  and  produced  results  almost  identical  to  the 
newspaper's  unfavorable  analysis.  Dr.  Porter  looked  at  the  AJC's  statistical 
methodology  to  determine  whether  it  was  valid,  and  whether  there  were  alternative 
explanations  for  the  gains  reported,  other  than  cheating.  He  ultimately  concluded 


387 


that  while  the  results  of  his  analysis  did  not  prove  cheating,  they  did  "point  to 
student  achievement  gains  and  losses  that  are  highly  unusual  and  for  which 
cheating  could  be  one  explanation."  Porter  presented  no  other  explanation  for  the 
gains. 

The  initial  draft  of  Porter's  report  went  to  Dr.  Hall  on  February  22,  2010. 
(Ex.  33).  Superintendent  Hall,  Dr.  Kathy  Augustine  and  others  had  a 
teleconference  with  Porter  in  which  they  discussed  his  findings.  Porter's  final 
report,  dated  May  11,  2010,  was  sent  directly  to  Dr.  Hall  by  email  on  May  18, 
2010.  (Ex.  34).  His  final  report  restated  the  conclusions  he  reached  in  his  previous 
drafts.  Dr.  Hall  acknowl  edged  receipt  of  the  email  the  next  morning,  and  indicated 
that  she  would  read  the  report  and  get  back  with  Porter.  She  never  got  back  to 
Porter,  and  Dr.  Hall  claimed  she  deleted  this  report  from  her  computer. 

Unlike  the  favorable  Reeves'  report,  and  contrary  to  Dr.  Hall's  stated  intent, 
the  district  did  not  make  Porter's  report  available  to  the  public.  APS  publicly  used 
Reeves"  report  as  a  defense  to  allegations  of  cheating,  while  Drs.  Hall  and 
Augustine  claimed  not  to  realize  the  limited  scope  of  his  review. 

Hall  and  Augustine  acknowledged  that  Dr.  Reeves  could  not  have  conducted 
a  true  assessment  of  APS'  instructional  practices  in  two  days,  without  classroom 
observations  and  other  more  detailed  work.  Nevertheless,  when  Reeves*  report 
was  received,  APS  released  the  report  as  support  for  the  district's  test  score  gains, 
while  making  no  public  mention  of  the  Porter  report. 


388 


Media  Request  for  Porter  Report 
On  July  19,  20 1 0,  two  months  after  Dr.  Hall  received  the  Porter  report,  the 

AJC  sent  an  open  records  request  to  the  district  asking  for  "[t]he  report  compiled 

by  Andrew  Porter,  Dean  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  Graduate  School  of 

Education,  concerning  CRCT  results."  (Ex.  35).  Sharron  Pitts  contacted  both  Dr. 

Kathy  Augustine  and  Dr.  Hall  regarding  this  request.  Pitts  was  told  by  them  that 

they  did  not  have  the  report.  (Ex.  36). 

A  district  official  responded  to  the  AJC  saying  "[a]  copy  of  the  Porter  report 
does  not  exist  in  the  district  ."  (Ex.  37).  Shortly  thereafter,  the  district  told  the  AJC 
that  the  requested  information  was  in  the  possession  of  AEF:  "[t]he  Porter  report 
is  included  in  the  Blue  Ribbon  Commission's  investigative  materials,  so  it  will  not 
be  released  until  the  report  is  released  on  August  2nd."  The  AJC  did  not  challenge 
the  APS  response  at  that  time,  but  the  Porter  report  was  not  released  or  mentioned 
in  the  BRC  findings. 

On  November  19,  20  i  0,  the  AJC  filed  a  complaint  with  the  State  Attorney 
General,  regarding  APS'  failure  to  provide  Porter's  report  pursuant  to  a  records 
request.  On  December  6,  2010,  the  AJC  sent  another  request  asking  APS  to 
provide  copies  of  all  materials  that  the  district  had  provided  to  us.  (Ex.  38). 
Deputy  Superintendent  Kathy  Augustine  claimed  that  while  searching  for  records 
responsive  to  the  AJC's  December  request — five  months  after  the  AJC  asked  for 


389 


Porter's  report — she  discovered  an  "unopened  emai  1  in  the  archives"  of  her 
computer  containing  a  copy  of  Porter's  second  draft.  (Ex.  39). 

After  we  met  with  Dr.  Hall  in  May  20 1 1,  her  lawyers  wrote  to  provide 
clarification  on  the  issues  surrounding  Porter's  report.  (Ex.  40).  Her  legal  team 
attempted  to  separate  Dr.  Hall  from  the  report  and  asserted  that  there  was  no 
legitimate  basis  upon  which  to  conclude  that  she  acted  improperly. 

To  be  clear,  however,  it  was  Dr.  Hall  who  decided  to  use  the  services  of  Dr. 

Porter  to  evaluate  the  AJC's  work,  held  him  out  as  the  expert,  participated  in  a 

telephone  conference  regarding  his  study,  proclaimed  his  report  would  be  made 

public,  received  a  copy  of  his  report,  deleted  it  from  her  computer,  and  allowed 

APS  to  falsely  claim  that  a  copy  of  the  report  was  not  in  the  district.   There  is 

sufficient  evidence  that  both  Hall  and  Augustine  did  not  properly  maintain  this 

public  document  and  illegally  withheld  its  release. 

APS  REACTION  TO  GQSA 
As  with  previous  responses  of  APS  to  cheating  allegations,  the  district's  first 

reaction  to  the  2009  GOSA  erasure  analysis  was  to  try  and  explain  it  away.  The 

day  after  Kathleen  Mathers,  Executive  Director  of  GOSA,  met  with  Dr.  Beverly 

Hall  and  other  top  APS  officials  regarding  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis.  Governor 

Perdue  called  Dr.  Hall.  The  Governor  told  Dr.  Hall  that  he  was  comfortable  with 

the  GOSA  analysis  and  that  APS  should  not  question  the  state  study.  He  further 

said  that  "the  time  for  data  analysis  [was]  over  and  an  investigation  should  begin." 


390 


Dr.  Hall  agreed,  but  told  Governor  Perdue  that  APS  already  determined  some 
classrooms  were  flagged  based  on  disabled  students"  tests.  But  at  the  time  Dr.  Hall 
made  this  declaration,  GOSA  had  not  yet  given  Dr.  Hall,  or  APS,  the  student-level 
information  from  which  Hall  could  have  drawn  such  a  conclusion. 

Following  this  meeting  with  GOSA,  APS  generated  its  own  analysis, 
purportedly  to  help  them  better  understand  the  GOSA  erasure  data.  Dr.  Kathy 
Augustine  directed  Dr.  Cari  Ryan,  a  senior  research  associate  with  the  APS 
Research,  Planning  and  Accountability  unit  (RPA),  to  analyze  the  GOSA  statistics. 
Dr.  Ryan  worked  with  Dr.  Augustine  and  Lester  McK.ee  to  create  a  chart  that 
compared  the  2008  CRCT  scores  to  the  2009  scores.  (Ex.  41). 

The  APS  assessment,  as  reflected  in  its  chart,  was  not  an  analysis  of  the 
GOSA  data,  but  an  effort  to  disprove  cheating.  In  contrast  to  the  grade  and 
teacher-specific  erasure  analysis,  the  APS  chart  reflected  the  "average"  number  of 
erasures  above  ten  on  each  section  of  the  test  across  an  entire  school .  It  then 
compared  this  information  with  2008  and  2009  CRCT  results  to  show  that  scores 
in  many  schools  did  not  increase  as  a  result  of  the  erasures.  Dr.  Hall,  Dr. 
Augustine,  Jeffrey  Schiller  (an  outside  consultant),  and  others  told  us  that  they 
believed  this  chart  showed  cheating  was  not  widespread.  However,  they 
acknowledged  to  us  that  if  there  was  cheating  in  2008,  then  the  APS  analysis 
meant  nothing. 


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Shortly  after  Governor  Perdue  ordered  APS  to  conduct  an  investigation,  Dr. 
Hall  called  a  meeting  with  the  principals  of  the  flagged  schools  and  presented 
APS's  internal  chart.  Remarkably,  Dr.  Hall  and  Dr.  Augustine  never  showed  the 
principals  the  teacher-specific  GOSA  erasure  analysis.  Instead,  they  offered  their 
own  interpretation  of  GOSA's  data.  In  fact,  no  principal  or  SRT  Executive 
Director  we  interviewed  had  seen  GOSA's  erasure  analysis  until  we  showed  it  to 
them. 

When  we  questioned  Dr.  Hall  and  Dr.  Augustine  about  their  failure  to  share 

the  GOSA  erasure  analysis,  they  explained  that  because  of  the  impending  BRC 

investigation,  they  did  not  want  to  taint  the  investigation.  Yet  they  had  no  concern 

about  sharing  the  APS  internal  chart,  which  attempted  to  explain  how  the  erasures 

were  not  the  result  of  cheating. 

BLUE  RIBBON  COMMISSION 
As  a  result  of  the  erasure  analysis,  Governor  Sonny  Perdue  ordered  the  35 

districts  with  flagged  schools  to  conduct  a  qualitative  investigation  to  determine 

the  cause  of  such  a  high  number  of  WTR  erasures  outside  the  expected  norm. 

Thirty-three  of  the  35  districts  performed  adequate  investigations,  which  met  the 

Governor's  mandate.  APS  did  not. 

On  February  12,  20 1 0,  GOSA  issued  its  investigative  guidelines,  requiring 

APS  to  investigate  all  schools  with  more  than  10%  of  the  classrooms  flagged  and 

report  to  GOSA  by  May  14,  2010.  (Ex.  42).  Within  a  day  or  two  after  the  meeting 


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with  GOSA,  Dr.  Hal!  determined  an  independent  commission  should  conduct  the 
investigation.  The  deadline  was  extended  several  times,  and  the  report  was 
submitted  on  August  2,  2010. 

The  first  outside  entity  considered  by  the  district  to  assist  the  Governor- 
ordered  investigation  was  the  American  Institutes  of  Research  ("AIR").  Dr.  Gary 
Phillips  is  a  research  scientist  with  AIR.  APS  unsuccessfully  tried  to  convince 
Phillips  that  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis  did  not  indicate  that  there  was  widespread 
cheating  on  the  2009  CRCT. 

On  February  28,  2010,  Dr.  Phillips  met  with  Dr.  Hall,  Augustine,  McK.ee, 
Schiller,  APS  Board  Chair  LaChandra  Butler  Burks,  Bill  McCargo  of  AEF  and 
Renay  Blumenthal  of  the  Atlanta  Metro  Chamber.  Several  people  who  were  in 
attendance  at  this  meeting  have  told  us  that  APS  presented  "chart  after  chart" 
focusing  on  demographic  factors  and  test  score  changes  over  a  few  years. 
According  to  Ms.  Blumenthal,  Dr.  Phillips  challenged  the  APS  data  analysis, 
stating  that  it  would  be  inaccurate  to  look  at  test  score  gains  over  a  short  period  and 
learn  anything.  Mr.  McCargo  described  the  APS  presentation  as  denying  there  was 
widespread  cheating.  After  the  meeting.  Dr.  Hall  told  Dr.  Phillips  that  testing 
strategies  used  by  APS  might  al so  explain  the  high  WTR  erasures. 

Dr.  Phillips  told  Ms.  Blumenthal  that  APS  should  audit  the  schools  with 
"[t]he  highest  number  of  erasures  .  .  .  and  show  a  real  commitment  to  taking  the 


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state's  data  seriously."  Phillips  also  said  APS  has  "a  leadership  issue,  not  a  data 
issue."  (Ex.  43). 

On  March  8,  20 1 0,  the  Atlanta  Board  of  Education  established  the  BRC  and 
selected  its  members.  It  was  to  be  funded  by  the  Atlanta  Education  Fund.  Gary 
Price  was  asked  to  be  chair.  BRC  members  volunteered  their  time  and  served  pro 
bono.  Additionally,  Board  of  Education  Chair  LaChandra  Butler  Burks,  insisted 
that  she  serve  on  the  panel,  even  though  several  members  of  the  BRC  believed  this 
could  compromise  the  public's  perception  of  the  independence  of  this  body. 

The  BRC  created  a  "working  group"  to  run  the  investigation  between 
meetings.  Burks  and  Price  were  the  only  two  members  serving  on  the  initial 
working  group.  Full  time  employees  of  AEF  served  as  administrative  support  to 
the  BRC.  Renay  Blumenthal  of  the  Atlanta  Metro  Chamber  provided  assistance  as 
needed. 

The  BRC  hired  Caveon  Test  Security  to  conduct  a  security  analysis  and 
perform  further  statistical  study.  The  BRC  hired  accounting  firm  KPMG  to 
conduct  interviews  at  the  58  schools  in  APS  that  were  flagged  for  high  erasures. 

Even  though  many  of  the  classes  in  APS  had  standard  deviations  between  20 
and  50,  the  BRC  did  not  obtain  any  admissions  of  wrongdoing  during  its 
investigation.  Ultimately,  the  BRC  concluded  that  Atlanta's  written  testing 
practices  and  procedures  indicated  a  "tight"  testing  environment,  with  some 
improvements  needed.    They  further  concluded  that  there  was  no  evidence  of 


394 


centrally-coordinated  cheating,  but  that  APS  should  further  investigate  a  number  of 
schools  and  certain  educators  and  administrators. 

TEST  SECURITY 

The  BRC  hired  Caveon  Test  Security  to  perform  a  security  audit  on  its  test 

procedures,  to  review  student  answer  sheets,  and  to  provide  a  statistical  assessment 
of  GOSA's  erasure  analysis  to  help  prioritize  their  investigation.  Dr.  John  Fremer, 
President  of  Caveon,  and  Dennis  Maynes,  its  chief  statistician,  both  worked  on  the 
project  and  prioritized  the  schools  based  upon  what  they  referred  to  as  the  "Caveon 
Index." 

Both  Maynes  and  Fremer  said  that  the  "Caveon  Index"  is  different  for  each 
job  based  on  what  data  is  available  to  them.  Caveon  used  different  measures  to 
look  for  where  the  probability  of  cheating  was  "the  highest."  Two  of  the  measures 
Caveon  used  for  this  job  were  "abnormally  high  wrong-to-right  erasures"  and 
"abnormally  high  total  erasures."  According  to  Maynes,  for  its  WTR  erasures, 
Caveon  set  its  probability  calculation  so  it  would  only  flag  the  worst  five  percent 
of  the  teachers.  For  total  erasures,  Caveon  set  its  calculations  to  only  flag  those 
tests  that  had  more  than  two  times  the  median  of  total  erasures.  Before  he 
calculated  it,  Maynes  expected  this  would  flag  approximately  twenty- five  percent 
of  the  teachers  in  the  fifty-eight  schools. 

Dennis  Maynes  said  he  used  some  of  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis  data  for  his 
review  but  chose  not  to  use  the  state-wide  averages  and  deviations.    He  only 


395 


examined  WTR  erasures  in  the  58  flagged  schools  in  the  district.  By  reducing  his 
statistical  universe  to  this  highly  suspect  and  limited  set  of  schools,  Caveon 
redefined  the  criteria  against  which  a  school  or  teacher  would  be  flagged. 

Maynes  admitted  that  confining  his  statistical  model  to  this  small  set  of 
highly  suspect  schools  meant  his  statistical  universe  was  "contaminated."  Caveon 
believed  this  was  appropriate,  however,  because  their  overall  methodology  was  to 
focus  on  finding  "the  worst  of  the  worst."  Mr.  Maynes  further  said  that  there  was 
an  enormous  amount  of  erasures  in  the  58  APS  schools  and  that  there  was  no  doubt 
that  cheating  was  occurring  in  APS. 

Because  of  the  manner  by  which  Caveon  calculated  its  index,  and  the 
contaminated  statistical  universe  it  used,  many  schools  for  which  there  was  strong 
statistical  evidence  of  cheating  were  not  flagged  by  Caveon.  Nonetheless,  the 
twelve  worst  schools  identified  by  the  BRC  are  the  same  schools  GOSA  identified 
as  having  the  highest  percentage  of  flagged  classrooms  in  APS. 

KPMG  AND  APS  INTERV  IEWS 

The  BRC  hired  accounting  firm  KPMG  to  handle  the  BRC  investigative 

efforts.  Remarkably,  APS  never  provided  GOSA's  erasure  analysis  to  the  BRC  or 
KPMG.  Therefore,  KPMG  did  not  use  this  information  to  question  teachers  during 
their  interview  process.  In  fact,  not  one  teacher,  principal  or  executive  director 
ever  saw  the  GOSA  erasure  analysis  until  confronted  by  us.  Dr.  Hall's  Chief  of 
Staff,  Sharron  Pitts,  said  that  when  she  saw  KPMG's  proposed  list  of  questions, 


396 


she  found  them  to  be  superficial  and  not  likely  to  get  relevant  information. 

Therefore,  she  said,  it  is  not  surprising  that  no  one  confessed. 

KPMG  found  evidence  of  a  pervasive  fear  of  retaliation  for  reporting 

wrongdoing  and  pressure  to  meet  targets.    KPMG  interviewers  told  us  that  a 

teacher's  fear  of  retaliation  was  a  recurring  theme.     They  summarized  this 

information  in  a  presentation  given  to  the  BRC.  They  wrote: 

During  the  interview  process,  a  common  theme  emerged 
that  may  indicate  potential  cultural  issues  to  be 
considered.  Investigators  noticed  frequent  expressions  of 
concern  including  but  not  limited  to  the  following: 

•  Fear  of  job  loss  in  the  event  of  reporting  violations  and/or  not 
meeting  target  goals; 

•  Inability  to  trust  administrators  or  central  office; 

•  Being  unduly  pressured  to  meet  test  score  requirements. 

(Ex.  44).    Chuck  Riepenhoff,  who  supervised  this  work  for  KPMG,  said  this 

information  was  discussed  during  BRC  executive  sessions. 

BRC  Chair  Gary  Price  told  us  that  APS  did  not  have  adequate  controls  to 
"keep  people  from  crossing  ethical  lines."  In  his  view,  APS  did  not  have  things  in 
place,  such  as  policies  and  procedures,  to  ensure  ethical  conduct.  They  are  "[a]ll 
about  perform,  perform,  perform  .  .  .  they  just  don't  have  that  culture.  They  were 
not  in  balance."  He  was  disappointed  when  Dr.  Hall  proclaimed  that  the  BRC 
report  "vindicated"  APS.  Price  went  on  to  say  that  the  BRC  report  did  not 
vindicate  Dr.  Hall. 


397 


John  Rice,  an  executive  with  the  General  Electric  Company  who  also  sat  on 
the  BRC,  agreed  with  Price's  sentiment.  He  felt  that  APS  had  "lost  its  balance 
between  performance  and  ethics."  He  said  there  was  no  release  valve  for  the 
performance  pressure  in  the  system. 

The  BRC  submitted  its  report  to  the  Atlanta  Board  of  Education  on  August 
2,  2010.  Governor  Perdue  found  the  BRC  investigation  into  APS  to  be  insufficient 
in  scope  and  depth.  But  the  BRC  was  never  likely  to  uncover  the  truth  because  the 
scale  of  the  problem  in  APS  was  too  deep,  given  the  limited  resources  available 
and  the  time  restrictions  on  the  BRC's  work.  While  Caveon's  statistical  analysis 
helped  prioritize  the  BRC's  efforts,  its  analysis  was  flawed  and  understated  the 
potential  for  cheating  in  many  schools.  In  the  end,  the  problem  was  much  larger 
that  anyone  on  the  BRC  could  have  imagined. 

APS  RESPONSE  TO  BRC  REPORT 

The  BRC  sent  108  certified  educators"  names  to  APS  for  additional 

investigation.  It  also  referred  the  principals  at  the  12  worst  schools  to  the  district 
because  it  believed  the  extent  of  the  circumstantial  or  statistical  evidence  was 
sufficient  to  conclude  at  least  a  failure  of  leadership.  The  BRC  believed  there  was 
sufficient  evidence  of  cheating  in  several  other  schools  outside  of  these  twelve. 
The  report  was  presented  to  the  Board  of  Education  on  August  2,  2010.  Following 
the  release  of  the  BRC  report.  Dr.  Hall  proclaimed  it  as  "vindication"  of  APS  and 
proof  that  no  system-wide  cheating  occurred.  Dr.  Hall  issued  a  news  release  the 


398 


same  day,  trusting  that  "[t]he  media  and  public  will  focus  on  the  main  findings  of 
the  report  that  there  is  no  orchestrated  cheating  in  Atlanta  Public  Schools.. . ."  (Ex. 
45).  Dr.  Hall  quoted  the  BRC  language  regarding  "no  district-wide  effort  to 
manipulate"  the  2009  CRCT  again,  and  concluded  by  stating  that  "[i]f  we  are 
guilty  of  anything,  we  are  guilty  of  demanding  high  standards  of  our  students, 
teachers  and  principals."  Dr.  Hall  denied  all  responsibility  for  the  cheating  the 
BRC  believed  existed,  but  she  promised  to  "ferret  out"  those  responsible  and 
impose  severe  consequences  if  necessary. 

As  to  the  12  schools  in  which  the  BRC  suspected  cheating  occurred,  APS 
transferred  those  1 2  principals  to  other  positions  within  APS  pending  further 
investigation.  Even  though  the  BRC  referred  numerous  educators  back  to  APS  for 
additional  investigation.  Dr.  Hall  announced  just  four  days  later,  that  she  would 
refer  these  people  to  the  PSC  instead,  without  additional  inquiry  by  the  district. 
(Ex.  46).  Many  of  those  teachers  had  never  even  been  interviewed  by  the  BRC, 
much  less  investigated  by  APS. 

Although  Deputy  General  Counsel  Santhia  Curtis  and  her  staff  reviewed  the 
BRC  report  for  evidence  that  would  support  these  complaints,  in  large  part,  the 
sole  basis  for  the  complaints  filed  by  APS  against  the  teachers  was  "high  Caveon 
index" — the  statistical  index  used  by  Caveon  to  identify  potential  irregularities. 
No  other  explanation  was  provided.    According  to  Kelly  Hen  son.  Executive 


399 


Director  of  the  PSC,  it  could  not  take  any  action  based  on  this  inadequate 
information. 

We  reviewed  each  of  the  PSC  complaints  filed,  many  of  which  were 
supplemented  the  very  day  Governor  Perdue  appointed  us  as  special  investigators. 
The  vast  majority  of  the  complaints  say  only  that  a  teacher  has  a  high  "Caveon 
Index,"  although  no  one  at  APS  with  whom  we  have  spoken  knew  what  this  meant. 
Dr.  Augustine,  Millicent  Few  and  Veleter  Mazyck  each  acknowledged  to  us  that 
even  if  a  teacher  has  high  statistical  evidence  showing  cheating  in  his  or  her 
classroom,  it  does  not  mean  that  that  teacher  did  anything  wrong.  Regardless,  Dr. 
Hall  decided  to  refer  these  employees  to  the  PSC,  issuing  a  news  release 
publicizing  her  actions. 

As  to  the  teachers  referenced  in  the  BRC  report.  Dr.  Hall  made  accusations 
against  them  when  it  was  obvious  there  was  insufficient  supporting  evidence.  Ms. 
Mazyck,  Ms.  Pitts  and  Ms.  Few  acknowledged  that  "PR"  [public  relations]  was  a 
factor  in  the  decision.  This  was  done  to  promote  Dr.  Hall's  public  image  so  she 
would  appear  to  be  taking  the  allegations  of  misconduct  seriously.  These 
complaints  made  against  108  people  without  further  investigation  by  APS  as 
recommended  by  the  BRC,  and  without  sufficient  cause  to  believe  they  had  acted 
improperly,  are  unconscionable. 


400 


THE  BUSINESS  COMMUNITY 
Dr.    Hall    had   the    support    of  community   leaders   after  becoming 

superintendent.  She  courted  philanthropic  and  business  leaders  rather  than  spend 

her  days  in  the  schools,  working  in  the  "trenches"  and  speaking  one-on-one  with 

teachers  to  know  what  was  happening  in  her  district. 

In  many  ways,  the  community  was  duped  by  Dr.  Hall.  While  the  district  had 
rampant  cheating,  community  leaders  were  unaware  of  the  misconduct  in  the 
district.  She  abused  the  trust  they  placed  in  her.  Hall  became  a  subject  of 
adoration  and  made  herself  the  focus  rather  than  the  children.  Her  image  became 
more  important  than  reality. 

What  began  as  a  minor  cheating  scandal  at  Deerwood  Academy,  led  to  an 
investigation  by  a  then-obscure  state  agency,  headed  by  a  former  elementary 
school  teacher.  This  was  the  first  CRCT  cheating  by